On my mind

Members of the Dance Theatre of Harlem lead an interactive performance Sept. 22 in the lower level of the William Robertson Coe Library. The dance theatre will conclude its residency with a gala concert tonight. 

The prestigious Dance Theatre of Harlem is set to conclude a two-week residency at the University of Wyoming with a gala concert.

The performance opens the 2017-2018 season of UW Presents, formerly known as UW Cultural Programs.

Dance Theatre of Harlem was founded in 1969 to offer children, especially those in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City, the opportunity to learn about dance and the arts. It has since become a multicultural institution known for its demanding repertoire that sets standards in the performing arts.

Ballet master Kellye Saunders said audiences can expect to see a diverse performance that includes pieces choreographed by Ulysses Dove and Dance Theatre of Harlem resident choreographer Robert Garland.

“One of the things that’s so interesting about our company is we have such an eclectic repertoire,” she said.

The concert will also feature the world premiere of “Harlem on My Mind,” a tribute to the culture, rhythm and style of Harlem itself, choreographed by Darrell Moultrie. The work was commissioned by the UW Office of the President in support of the Eminent Artist-in-Residence Program.

Saunders said the piece, to be performed in five parts, features jazz music that reflects the big band sound of Harlem.

“He wanted to use music that reminded people not only of that time period but where this company is from and our origins,” Saunders said.

She said Moultrie was able to choreograph the piece as he worked with the dancers who would be performing it.

“He looks at the dancers and figures out right then and there how he wants to shape this piece,” she said. “It’s amazing to watch, because to see someone that has that kind of creativity that just flows from them is really interesting.”

She said fun spirit of the music and the performance would stick with audience members.

“Once you leave the theater, you’ll be dancing, and you’ll probably be singing the songs,” she said.

The dancers visiting Laramie are part of a touring company. They’ve been in town since Sept. 17 as eminent artists-in-residence in the Department of Theatre and Dance.

The concert is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. today at the College of Arts and Sciences Auditorium. Tickets are $20 for the public, $17 for UW faculty and staff and senior citizens and $10 for students. UW students can purchase two tickets for the price of one.

UW Presents aims to bring world-class performers to campus each year. The fall portion of the season continues Oct. 20 with photographer and filmmaker Ethan Russell, followed by The Reduced Shakespeare Company on Nov. 3 and Nov. 5.

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