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UW Dance Concert Honors Grief, New And Old

University of Wyoming

The University of Wyoming's annual spring dance concert runs this weekend. It features a new collaboration between a percussionist and a dance professor.

When dance choreographer André Megerdichian first started talking with percussionist Andy Wheelock about collaborating, they didn't know what to make. But one day Wheelock mentioned that his mother had recently passed away from breast cancer. Listening to the story, Megerdichian was shocked. "My mom passed away in 2003 from breast cancer that had also metastasized in the same trajectory as his own mother's recent passing," he said.

The piece Megerdichian and Wheelock created is called "What Remains." Megerdichian said it navigates their particular griefs, and also the hope that emerges from honoring someone's spirit.

The concert also includes a significant piece from an early modern dance choreographer, similarly made in homage to a woman who shaped the dance's creator. José Limón's Choreographic Offering is dedicated to his teacher and one of the pioneers of modern dance, Doris Humphrey. Limón created the dance in Humphrey's honor after her death.

UW professor of dance history Margaret Wilson said Limón brought a unique perspective to dance in the early twentieth century.

"José Limón was a Mexican-American dancer who came to New York and saw modern dance," Wilson said. "He was actually a visual artist, and he was captivated by the way in which the body could create forms that he was working on as an artist in a two-dimensional way."

The concert has six pieces in total, including a vertical dance. Spring to Dance runs Thursday, March 7, through Saturday, March 9, at the Buchanan Center in Laramie.

Erin Jones is Wyoming Public Radio's cultural affairs producer, as well as the host and senior producer of HumaNature. She began her audio career as an intern in the Wyoming Public Radio newsroom, and has reported on issues ranging from wild horse euthanization programs to the future of liberal arts in universities. Her audio work has been featured on WHYY Philadelphia’s The Pulse and the podcast Out There.

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