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Muhlenberg College dance students to present ‘Crucible’ at Hunter College in New York City

Presentation is part of “Sharing the Legacy,” the conclusion of a year long Centennial Celebration of Alwin Nikolais.

Allentown, Pa. (April 15, 2011) Student dancers from the Muhlenberg College Department of Theatre & Dance undergraduate students will present choreographer Alwin Nikolais’ “Crucible,” April 15 and 16, at Hunter College in New York City. The performance is part of a weekend-long festival celebrating the work of Nikolais, who is known as the “father of multimedia dance theater.”

The festival concludes a year-long centennial celebration of Nikolais and his contribution to the world of dance. It is part of Hunter College’s ongoing “Sharing the Legacy” series that seeks to address the challenges associated with preserving historically significant dance while introducing the next generation of dancers to their artistic heritage.

“Crucible” was originally restaged for Muhlenberg in 2010 by Alberto Del Saz, artistic director of the Nikolais-Louis Foundation for Dance. It was performed for Muhlenberg’s annual “Master Choreographers” concert and at Lehigh University as part of the Nikolais centennial celebration. 

Del Saz was the 2010 Baker Artist-in-Residence at Muhlenberg College, a program made possible by a multi-year grant from the Dexter F. and Dorothy H. Baker Foundation.

Facilitated by the Hunter College dance department, the “Sharing the Legacy” series was supported by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts’ American Masterpieces program.

Nikolais, 1910-1993, achieved a dazzling integration of movement and technology that created environments in which the human body merges with its surroundings. While the scene onstage may resemble an alien landscape, Nikolais’ philosophy of “decentralization” reflects a critique of human nature that he used as a form of social awareness in a post atomic bomb society.

“Crucible” is one of eight pieces to be presented in the Nikolais celebration, involving more than 100 dancers from across the United States. In addition to Muhlenberg College and Hunter College, the other schools participating in the performance are DeSales University, Marymount Manhattan College, Middle Tennessee State University, Newcomb Tulane, University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Southern Utah University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Muhlenberg College dance faculty Sarah Carlson and Susan Creitz will accompany the Muhlenberg dancers: Matt Austin ’12, Andrew Clark ’12, Katie Epstein ’11, Katie Fierro ’11, Rebecca Glassman ’12, Lynn Lisella ’11, Felix Mayes ’12, Nick Picknally ’13, Ashley Sleeth ’11, and Sean Vanin ’13, along with understudies Emily Ancona ’13 and Ian Curtis ’14.

Muhlenberg College is a liberal arts college of 2,200 students in Allentown, Pa. The college offers Bachelor of Arts degrees in theatre and dance. Princeton ranks Muhlenberg’s theatre program sixth in the nation, and the Fiske Guide to Colleges lists both the theatre and dance programs among the top small college programs in the United States. Muhlenberg is one of only eight colleges to be listed in Fiske for both theatre and dance.

Performances of the “Sharing the Legacy” concert will be Friday, April 15, and Saturday, April 16, at 8 p.m. in the Danny & Sylvia Kaye Playhouse at 695 Park Ave., New York, N.Y.  Admission is $17 for adults and $12 for students and seniors. For tickets, call 212-772-4448 or visit kayeplayhouse.hunter.cuny.edu.