Spring Dance Concert Features ‘Tusculum Ghosts’

| April 13, 2012

Sweet Briar College’s annual Spring Dance Concert will take place at 8 p.m. Friday, April 20, and at 8 p.m. Saturday, April 21, in Murchison Lane Auditorium.

A dynamic mix of modern dance, ballet and multimedia performance, the show includes several guest artists, as well as Sweet Briar faculty and students.

Samantha Angus ’05, who was the first Sweet Briar dance major to graduate with a B.F.A., choreographed one of the more athletic dances in the program. The duet will feature dance majors Sarah Fletcher ’13 and Jessica Murphy ’13.

“It’s a very challenging dance, but they have met that challenge and are enjoying it,” said professor of dance Mark Magruder.

Magruder’s daughter, Mia, a filmmaker, sculptor and yoga teacher, lends her visual talents to one of the highlights of this year’s dance concert. The multimedia dance she choreographed for first-years Katherine Hoyt, Alayna Hoblik and Sade Fountain incorporates three video projectors that will be showing previously filmed footage of the dancers as a backdrop to their performance.

Other dances in the program include a modern ballet piece by Sweet Briar ballet instructor Mari Mori featuring Leslie Lloyd ’15 and seniors Katie Joanna Hamre and Cortney Lewandowski; the high-energy “Kinetic Frenzy” for eight student dancers, with choreography and music composed and played live by Magruder and guest artist Tom Marcais; as well as another dance for eight choreographed by Fletcher.

Dance professor Ella Magruder’s dance theater piece, “Race Relations: Tusculum Ghosts,” also is on the program. The performance highlights the romantic relationship between Sidney Fletcher, brother of Sweet Briar founder Indiana Fletcher Williams, and an African-American woman, portrayed by Fountain.

Magruder, a Sweet Briar alumna and Amherst native who shares ancestors with the Fletcher family, grew up hearing her mother tell the story.

“It was as much an investigation into my own family history as it was into the county’s history,” she said. “It’s been really fascinating. The interesting thing about history is that the way a story is told changes over time.”

While writing the script, Ella Magruder conducted a lot of research, including speaking with Tusculum Institute director, Lynn Rainville, and visiting Sweet Briar Museum.

The dance is accompanied by an off-stage narrator and features 10 dancers, four of whom are local to the area.

Admission is free and seating is open. For more information, contact Mark Magruder at (434) 381-6150 or [email protected].


Contact: Janika Carey

Category: Dance, Performing Arts, Uncategorized