World-class acts to arrive at Hopkins Center this fall

by Liz Ellison | 8/10/07 4:04am

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Hopkins Center Programming Director Margaret Lawrence anticipates Savion Glover's upcoming performance at the Hop's season preview Thursday afternoon.
by Ryan Yuk and unknown / The Dartmouth

In terms of dance, this should be an especially thrilling year. To kick off the fall, the Merce Cunningham Dance Company will perform the world premiere of "XOVER." The piece, which was commissioned by the Hop, features a live performance with a score by pioneering music composer John Cage and a set design by renowned visual artist Robert Rauschenberg.

Merce Cunningham, founder of the company, now in his eighties, is one of modern dance's greatest innovators. He and his company will be on campus for an entire week in early October.

"He's actually going to speak as a Montgomery fellow as well," Margaret Lawrence programming director of the Hop said.

She added that there will be a number of other opportunities that give students the chance to interact with and learn from the company. "It's going to be a huge week, there's going to be something every single day going on."

Winter term finds Company Ea Sola, led by Vietnamese choreographer Sola, bringing "Drought and Rain, Vol. 2" to the Hop. The piece combines live traditional Vietnamese drumming with an innovative uses of props and lighting to make a moving, compelling statement about the after effects of war on a new generation.

Also this winter, tap phenomenon Savion Glover will be in Hanover for three days, performing with special guest dancers and musicians. If you've never seen him dance, you should. Since debuting on Broadway at age 10, Glover has completely reinvented modern tap, wowing audiences around the world and winning a Tony and two Off-Broadway Theater Awards -- called OBIEs -- for his explosive performance in Broadway musical "Bring in 'Da Noise, Bring in 'Da Funk."

In spring, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater will be at the Moore Theater -- an unusually small venue for this world-famous group. Ailey, a ground-breaking modern dancer and choreographer, founded Dance Theater in 1958, and the company remains grounded in his legacy of sensuous, jazzy dance pieces that tell powerful stories about the human experience.

For classical music aficionados, there will be an assortment of interesting musicians to see and hear this year. New York-based group Imani Winds will perform in the fall, blending traditional chamber music with lively jazz and elements of African music. Celebrated pianist Murray Perahia, known for his emotionally affecting performances, is also on the fall schedule.

Sharon Isbin, the first female to receive a Grammy for solo classical guitar, will be in town this winter. You can find her music on the soundtrack of Best Picture winner "The Departed." Winter term also brings virtuoso flutist Sir James Galway, widely known as "The Man With the Golden Flute," and his wife Lady Jeanne Galway to Hanover for a performance of popular Irish tunes and older classical favorites. Galway, easily the world's most famous flutist, is one of the greatest classical musicians of our time. Don't miss this chance to see him perform in Dartmouth's own Spaulding Auditorium.

The Hop's spring calendar also boasts a performance by the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio, who have been setting the international standard in piano trio performance for over 28 years. Early-music ensemble Europa Galante -- well known for their expressive, polished live performances -- will also be here to present a program featuring Vivaldi's famous "Four Seasons." The group's recording of this piece has sold over half a million copies worldwide. Whether or not you know anything about classical music, this show is guaranteed to be enjoyable.

Other musical acts lined up for the fall include jazz/funk band The John Scofield Trio with the Poorly Paid Horns, eastern Georgia's Zedashe Ensemble and Peruvian singer Eva Ayllon. Drummer Matt Wilson, who will be in residency with the music department, will also perform. Lastly, Yamato, a Japanese drum group, brings their incredible energy to Hanover for a show entitled "Shin-on (Heartbeat)" just before the term's end.

In winter, check out bluegrass double bill Old School Freight Train and the Carolina Chocolate Drops. Also stopping through that term are British folk-rocker Richard Thompson, piano/banjo duo Chick Corea and Bela Fleck and jazz pianist Jason Moran with his quartet The Bandwagon.

Spring brings the Omar Sosa Afreecanos Quartet, who fuse Afro-Cuban music and Latin jazz using traditional African instruments. Spring's music department residents, Qawwali Masters, will perform Pakistani Sufi music -- devotional music inspired by mystic poetry. The Hop's final performance of the season will feature the Brad Mehldau Trio, who incorporate jazz, classical and art rock in performances that are part structured, part improvisational.

Those who lean to theater and comedy acts rather than music or dance also have reason to look forward to this year. The Civilians, a New York theater troupe led by Dartmouth alum Steve Cosson '90, will bring their OBIE-winning play "Gone Missing" to the Hop in fall. The play is an interesting new approach to musical theater. Through the use of minimal sets and costumes and features alternately funny and moving true accounts, "Gone Missing" reflects how extraordinary day-to-day lives can really be.

Political satirists The Capitol Steps will be here just in time for the primaries, with a show on Oct. 26. This shamelessly hilarious group, famous for such musical parodies as "It Don't Mean a Thing If Your State's Not a Swing" and "Osama Come Out Tomorrow," specializes in ridiculing the left, the right and everything in between. Their performance is likely to sell out, so get your tickets early.

Playwright Rik Reppe will bring his epic, fascinating one-man show "Staggering Toward America" to Hanover this fall as part of the Hop's Class Divide initiative. Rounding out Fall term's theater and comedy sector is Arab-American comedian Dean Obeidallah, the co-creator of Comedy Central's "The Watch List."

In spring, don't miss photographer and storyteller William Yang's "Shadows," a piece about two marginalized Australian communities that's part diary, part documentary. Meanwhile, playwright Anne Galjour will present a sneak preview, entitled "Work-in-Progress," of her upcoming Hop-commissioned play about class and culture in Northern New England. Also coming in spring, Uzbekistan's Ilkhom Theatre will perform "White White Black Stork," a play based on the 19th century Uzbek novel by Abdulla Kadyri.

The season's lineup features a number of artists and performance pieces with connections to Asia, presenting a rare opportunity to widen perspectives that the Hop's programming director is particularly excited about.

"We have a contemporary theater company from central Asia, from Uzbekistan," Lawrence said. "[Ilkhom Theatre] will be here for a week."

Lawrence emphasized how exposure to performing arts groups from around the world can help challenge our traditional impressions of other countries and cultures.

"There's going to be a lot going on that students can learn about, but also it's a young company that they can relate to," she said of Ilkhom Theatre.

Due to the variety of performances, there will be something for everyone at the Hop this year, no matter what term you are on.

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