Winston-Salem flooded with fluid movement

by Lenise Willis

In today’s world there are more ways than ever of communicating: texting, calling, online chatting, tweeting and more. But let’s not forget that one of our earliest forms of expression was simply dancing. Bringing that “ancient” art to the forefront is the University of North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem with its upcoming winter dance concert featuring an internationally known dance company.

Produced by the School of Dance and the School of Design and Production at UNCSA, the vivid and complex concert is an exciting collaboration between 100 students and guest professionals, including internationally renowned artistic director Wayne McGregor from Random Dance, which is famed for merging film, dance, electric sound, animation and other multimedia elements with live choreography.

“Neuroscientists have helped us to understand how we typically make decisions — what kind of journeys we go on to make a particular set of decisions in improvisation, for example,” said McGregor, 43, in a recent interview with Montreal’s The Gazette.

“We talk a lot about creativity being instinctive, but actually that’s not true. The job of the brain is to make structures out of things, patterns. The job of the artist, in a way, is to break habitual ways of doing and seeing things.”

Known for its extremely rapid and precise choreographic style, Random Dance has earned an international reputation for blending art with science and truly modernizing the art form of dance.

Founded in 1992, Random Dance is Resident Company of Sadler’s Wells, London. McGregor is Resident Choreographer of The Royal Ballet. In 2011 he was awarded a CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) for Services to Dance.

McGregor has innovated new work with world class artists including composers Scanner, Jon Hopkins and Ben Frost; visual artists Mark Wallinger and Random International; and film-makers Jane and Louise Wilson and Ravi Deepres.

Besides getting to work with such revered talent as McGregor, students will get the chance to work with several professional choreographers, including UNCSA alumnus Juel Lane.

“It’s like coming back home to where it all started,” said Lane, who choreographed her featured dance piece during her residency at UNCSA. “I like to share and be inspired by the talent here at the school.”

Lane’s included dance piece, titled How to Kill A Ghost, explores the idea of holding on to something that doesn’t exist anymore. “When we hold on to things far beyond our reach, it tends to haunt us,” Lane said.

“The brainchild behind the composition came from experiences and relationships that I came across in the past,” Lane continued. “It’s my therapy to get all this information out thorough choreography.”

After the concept was developed, music was added to the performance produced by Quentin “EQ” Johnson, a native of New Orleans, and featuring Atlanta singers RAHBI and Maiesha McQueen.

“Most of the movement is physical, weighted and grounded. I tend to have a pedestrian approach to the movement,” Lane explained. “The choreography looks like rapid human emotions. The emotions are vicious, subtle, vulnerable and light.”

Lane further commented that the collaboration between the UNCSA dance students and the guest professionals is a wonderful experience because it helps to merge the gap between preprofessional and professional working artists.

“Our job is to be really honest with the students,” Lane said. The program also includes a special production of Concerto by Lucinda Childs and Raymonda by Marius Petipa. !



UNCSA’s Winter Dance Concert performs at the Stevens Center, 405 W. Fourth St., Winston-Salem, Thursday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults and $13 for seniors and students. For tickets and more information visit or call 721-1945.