Northern Illinois University

NIU Office of Public Affairs

News Release

Contact: David W. Booth / Jessica Custer, NIU School of Theatre and Dance
(815) 753-1337

April 20, 2006

School of Theatre and Dance presents
annual Spring Dance Concert

DeKalb — Five guest choreographers and the world premiere of a movement piece based on artist Irene Belknap's oil-on-linen series of paintings are the featured attractions of Northern Illinois University's School of Theatre and Dance 2006 Spring Dance Concert, held from Thursday, April 27, through Sunday, April 30.

Guests directors are Paul Christiano (Chicago Magazine “Best Dancer in Chicago,” 2003), Karen Reedy (Mark Morris Dance Center), Dmitri Peskov (DanceLoop Chicago) and Chris Johnson ( 2004 winner, Laureate Grand Prix, the top prize at the seventh annual “Festival of Choreographic Collectives,” in Moscow, Russia), and include NIU professor emeritus Jere Tulk and current theater faculty Deborah Robertson.

Nearly 30 performers, all students of the School of Theatre and Dance, will be showcased in an eclectic mix of dance styles and talents. Christiano's “Epilogue” explores the final five minutes of a young woman's life.

According to Johnson, “Holding Patterns” is a play on words because the dance is based on the pedestrian movement of holding; holding oneself together, holding each other up, both physically and emotionally. The dancers portray a feeling of trying to get somewhere but being held back.

Robertson's premiere movement piece, “Dressed in Words,” is inspired by Belknap's individual paintings titled “Time,” “Distance” and “Ithaka,” and which collectively describe life's journey from birth to death.

California artist Belknap has donated one of her prints from the “Dressed in Words” series to be auctioned with proceeds benefiting the School of Theatre and Dance. The print will be on display in the Stevens Building lobby during each performance of the Spring Dance Concert, and sealed bids will be accepted from anyone who wishes to place one. The work is valued at $2,400, and the minimum bid will be $200. The winning bidder will be notified following the last concert.

People trying to get on with life but hitting a wall is the theme of Reedy's “With Blinders On.” It utilizes lyrical movement, running in place, being manipulated as a puppet and sudden stops to indicate the struggle against the odds to get ahead.

Tulk's “The Kitchen Sink Waltz” uses every step the choreographer has ever learned in one dance piece, hence its name; everything but the kitchen sink is represented, including Graham technique, jazz and ballet in a spoof on her own choreography.

The Spring Dance Concert is held in the Stevens Building's O'Connell Theatre. Weeknight and Saturday performances begin at 7:30 p.m. with the Sunday matinee at 2 p.m. Tickets are $14 for general admission, $8 for seniors and $7 for students. Ticket reservations are available by contacting the Stevens Building Box Office at (815) 753-1337. More information is also available online at

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