Muhlenberg's ‘In Motion’ Dance Concert Showcases Talents of Acclaimed Choreographers, More than 70 Dancers

News Image Opening March 31, the performance features work by guest artist Fredrick Earl Mosley

By: Molly Layden ’24  Thursday, March 17, 2022 03:53 PM

News Image

The Muhlenberg College Dance Program will present seven original works by seven celebrated choreographers in its “In Motion” concert, March 31 – April 2 in the college’s Empie Theatre. The performance includes “Running Spirits,” a piece by renowned guest artist Fredrick Earl Mosley, this season’s Baker Artist-in-Residence, supported by the Dexter F. & Dorothy H. Baker Foundation.

An internationally known performer, educator, and choreographer, Mosley is the founder and artistic director of Diversity of Dance. In addition to staging work for “In Motion,” Mosley spent much of the semester on campus, working on his collaborative project “UNCONQUERED,” which was performed this March and teaching workshops for teenagers in the Lehigh Valley.

“In Motion” also features works by six Muhlenberg dance faculty: Heidi Cruz-Austin, an alumna of the Pennsylvania Ballet; Karen Dearborn, founder and chair of Muhlenberg’s dance program; Megan Flynn, artistic director of Megan Flynn Dance Company; Natalie Gotter, a former dancer with Tsunami Dance Company; Randall Anthony Smith, a former dancer with Armitage Gone!; and Robyn Watson, tap dance instructor for Broadway's Shuffle Along. Cruz-Austin and Dearborn serve as the concert’s artistic directors.

“As a co-artistic director, what I’m trying to do is honor the choreographers' visions,” Cruz-Austin says. “I want to bring their creativity and what they want to present on the stage with their movement to the forefront of the show.”

Robyn Watson will premiere a new suite titled “Moving Moods,” which follows a journey through the history of tap in four sections, each referencing the dance's origins and evolution.

“It deals with deconstructing the narrative of what many of us have assumed tap dance is,” Watson says. “The hope is that the audience will get a kaleidoscopic view of what tap is, and its presentation with and without music.”

Natalie Gotter is creating a modern piece titled, “I’m Looking for You,” inspired heavily by Stephen Petronio, LaLaLa Human Steps, and other artists exploring gender, physicality, and sexuality in the 1990s.

“This piece examines a specific moment of choice,” Gotter says. “This moment pushes and pulls us, can bring us to safety, bring us to exhaustion, or introduce us to experiences we would never have otherwise known.”

Heidi Cruz-Austin is creating a new piece in which the aesthetics of classical and contemporary ballet share the stage. She says the work is a reflection of her personal artistic leanings, including her love for the musical compositions of Chopin. The piece will be accompanied live on piano by musician Holly Roadfeldt.

“There’s a lot of contradiction within the piece,” Cruz-Austin says. “But to me the contradictions just make sense. I keep telling myself, ‘You don’t always have to do things the way they’ve been done.’ I’m following my instincts and carving my own path in this traditional ballet aesthetic.”

Megan Flynn is creating an original work in collaboration with a cast of 14 dancers, inspired by her summer 2021 research as a choreographer-in-residence at the ImPulsTanz: Vienna International Dance Festival.

“I am delighted to be working with guest lighting designer Leslie Lura-Smith,” Flynn says. “Portable lighting fixtures are incorporated into the choreography and serve to illuminate the themes of embodied memory, construction of personal narrative, and how we choose to reveal different parts of Self.”

Karen Dearborn has created a dynamic ballet piece that is set on 11 dancers. Titled “Embers,” the piece incorporates a dynamic duet performance as well as unified ensemble movement.

Randall Anthony Smith is creating a work titled “R.A.I.N.B.O.W.” The piece is a celebration of human experiences and the sharing of love, joy and understanding through our differences.

“This work has challenged me to constantly be aware of ‘How do I want to truly Live and be with others like and unlike me?’” Smith says. “For me, I would rather cultivate happiness. We can do beautiful things when we work together instead of against one another.”

“In Motion” runs March 31 – April 2 in the Empie Theatre, in the Baker Center for the Arts, Muhlenberg College, 2400 Chew St., Allentown.

Performances are Thursday and Friday, March 31 – April 1, at 8 p.m.; and Saturday, April 2, at 2 and 8 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults and $8 for patrons 17 and under; and $8 for students, faculty, and staff of all LVAIC colleges.

Patrons can call 484-664-3333 or go online for tickets and information.

About the Muhlenberg College Theatre & Dance Department
Muhlenberg offers Bachelor of Arts degrees in theatre and dance. The Princeton Review ranked Muhlenberg’s theatre program in the top twelve in the nation for eight years in a row, and 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.

About Muhlenberg College
Founded in 1848, Muhlenberg is a highly selective, private, four-year residential, liberal arts college offering baccalaureate and graduate programs. With an enrollment of approximately 2,200 students, Muhlenberg College is dedicated to shaping creative, compassionate, collaborative leaders through rigorous academic programs in the arts, humanities, natural sciences and social sciences; selected preprofessional programs, including accounting, business, education and public health; and progressive workforce-focused post-baccalaureate certificates and master’s degrees. Located in Allentown, Pennsylvania, approximately 90 miles west of New York City, Muhlenberg is a member of the Centennial Conference, competing in 22 varsity sports. Muhlenberg is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.