Every year, a group of talented dancers gather at Haas Pavilion for the Mills Repertory Dance Company (MRDC hereafter) auditions. An instructor leads them through a dance routine set up much like a classroom setting, and they dance with every soulful sinew in their bodies. After, with baited breath and ample anxiety, they nervously await the postings on the bulletin board in the hallway for the announcements for each placing. The chosen few are then rigorously rehearsed for a concert that takes place annually, which, in every way, is equivalent to a faculty concert with one noticeable difference. In addition to the faculty’s dance works that are performed for this show, some of the students who participate in this concert also have the rare opportunity to work with national and internationally acclaimed choreographers –a different one holding a special guest residency each year. Reiterated from the department’s website, “MRDC performances present a unique opportunity for the public to see the groundbreaking artists of tomorrow perform the work of highly reputed choreographers and teachers of today.” Bridging the gap between academic performance and professional work, the opportunity to work with such well-known artists is one of a kind.
This year’s chosen guest artist is Doug Varone and his work is the well-respected Bench Quartet that was set on a very select few dancers -- seven to be exact. After auditioning for a member of his company, the seven female dancers spent the entirety of their Memorial Day weekend and the week following in an intensive workshop while the choreography was set on these dancers. With supervision from the company member, Erin Owen, and faculty, the seven dancers worked tirelessly to achieve something quite extraordinary even in a professional setting –completely finishing a work like this in only a span of a few days. These seven dancers will continue to rehearse under faculty supervision until the concert coming up in November.
Mills Repertory Dance Concert typically chooses to honor a member of the community, either Mills or the larger geographic community, through the work that is produced and performed for the MRDC concert each year. Bringing a wealth of knowledge from both a business background as well as a women’s educational perspective, the new president of Mills College, Alecia DeCourdreaux is the honoree of this year’s Repertory Concert for the MRDC. Sonya Delwaide-Nichols, the dance department chair states, “We feel inspired by a new beginning under her leadership. We also see a parallel with the ‘state of change’ that dancers/choreographers to through when they bring their new work on stage in front of an audience. New beginnings/ premiers are always associated with a sense of hope, success, and longevity.” All of these qualities are sought and valued whether in performance of a dance, or in our new relationships and leadership changes.
The MRDC concert will be held November 19th, 2011 at 1pm and 8pm, and again Saturday, November 20, at 8pm at the Lisser Theater on Mills College Campus. This is a free event for the Mills community, and tickets for non-Mills attendees will be available at the door. General admission $15, students and seniors with ID $12.
For additional information on the show or the company, please click here.