Dance faculty members from Health and Exercise Studies and Arts NC State join forces to present an evening of choreography surrounded by Vernon Pratt’s artwork.
Teaching Associate Professor and Department Head Beth Wright Fath (Health and Exercise Studies) performs Rev, Part 1, a solo choreographed for Fath by Maryland-based dance artist Joan Nicholas-Walker. The prelude to a larger work to be completed in 2020, Rev, Part 1 is a study in contrast; indirect business versus direct form. Using a composition by John Coltrane (performed by Thelonius Monk), Nicholas-Walker was inspired by Vernon Pratt’s love of jazz music and is striving to create a visual and physical representation of the musical score.
Also performing a solo (self-choreographed) is Panoramic Dance Project Director and Lecturer Francine Ott (Dance Program/Arts NC State). Ott’s work, The Proposal, investigates the question: How do you receive what you have prayed for, now that it is here? You have done all the preparation, now it is time to walk it out.
Presenting the only group dance on the concert is Teaching Associate Professor and Dance Minor Coordinator Autumn Mist Belk (Health and Exercise Studies). Belk will join two NC State alumni and one other professional dancer (from Raleigh-based Code f.a.d. Company) to perform her newest choreographic work, 4×4. Belk’s quartet is a direct response to Vernon Pratt: All the Possibilities of Sixteen, and explores all the ways four dancers can embody the spirit of the visual artwork through gesture, acrobatics, and the human form. 4×4 also uses excerpts of Rich Holly’s Denominators for its musical score, composed for the exhibition based on Pratt’s examinations of jazz music and mathematics.
- Autumn Mist Belk earned her B.A. in dance and studio art from the University of Alabama and her M.F.A. in dance choreography from the University of Maryland. She is artistic director of Code f.a.d. Company, a multimedia dance company based in Raleigh, NC, and is an Associate Professor at North Carolina State University (teaching dance, yoga, and gymnastics). Autumn’s choreography has been presented throughout the United States and recently in Hallein, Austria, as part of the international artist festival Schmiede. She directs FAD: Film-Art-Dance Festival, which includes curating FAD Collections – educational programs of dance films complete with lesson plans and learning objective-driven activities for K-12 classrooms. Her own dance films have screened in over two dozen festivals around the world, and in May of 2016, Autumn lived and worked as a resident dance film artist in Hafnarfjörður, Iceland. She was honored to be selected as the 2016 winner of the National Dance Society’s Dance Promotion in the Community Award and as an inductee into NCSU’s Academy of Outstanding Teachers in 2015. Autumn also partnered recently with Beth Wright Fath, fellow dance faculty member at NC State, to create Here She Dances, a first of its kind site-specific dance performance for all female artists on NC State’s Centennial Campus.
- Beth Wright Fath earned her MFA in Dance from UNC-Greensboro and is a Certified Movement Analyst from the Laban/Bartenieff Institute of Movement Studies. She is faculty at NC State where she teaches Dance and Somatics and serves as Department Head. Prior to NC State, she was faculty and Director of Dance at Peace College. Selected performance and choreographic experience include: Movement Research, Danspace, and The Field in NYC; the American Dance Festival’s Opening Acts; the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange, Rick McCullough, Christal Brown, Code f.a.d., Rhynard and Dancers, NichWalk Dance Project, 2 Near the Edge, Jackie Hand, and Urban Gypsies; and ACDA conferences, Five Chick Posse Productions and NC Dances. Her work has received support from the Mary Duke Biddle Foundation, United Arts Council, the North Carolina Dance Alliance (NCDA), and the Council on the Status of Women, among others. Beth has been selected to present nationally and internationally at conferences such as: National Dance Educators Organization (NDEO) and the International Conference for Teaching Somatic-Based Dance. A former officer and Board member for NCDEO and NCDA, Beth currently serves as on the Advisory Board of the National Dance Education Organization (NDEO).
- Francine Elizabeth Ott, is an NC State Dance Program Dance Lecturer who serves as the artistic director of the Panoramic Dance Project. She received her B.F.A in Dance from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and studied at many dance intensives, including the American Dance Festival and Jacob’s Pillow, where she received scholarships. Francine has worked, studied and danced with Camille A. Brown and Dancers, Ronald K. Brown/Evidence, A Dance Company, Brian Green, and Tony Kundu among others. She has had the opportunity to teach many workshops, classes and residencies and her choreography has been showcased at the Mid-Atlantic ACDA Festival, Jacob’s Pillow Inside/Out Festival, Homegrown at the CAC in New Orleans, APAP, SummerStage Dance, BAM: Black Brooklyn Renaissance, Dance Harlem, Aaron Davis Hall, Dance Place in Washington, D.C., Dixon Place, International Association of Blacks in Dance and more. Ms. Ott has been featured in the July 2011 issue of Dance Magazine in the article, “When Words Hurt,” and the February 2011 issue of SHAPE Magazine, in “Confidence Queens.” Francine has been a studio assistant and teacher at Cumbe Center for African and Diaspora Dance and Rehearsal Director of Camille A. Brown and Dancers. She has assisted Ms. Brown in works for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Ailey II, Urban Bush Women and LaGuardia High School among others—and presently assists Ms. Brown when needed. She is also a teaching artist, as well as a choreographer for Crossing Point Arts, Black Girl Spectrum, Every Body Move, and Whole Heart Productions. Francine has received her master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling at Nyack College and was an Administrative Assistant at Nyack College’s Manhattan Campus for the Alliance Graduate School of Counseling. Ms. Ott also has her own company, Francine E. Ott/The Walk, where she integrates dance and mental health. This unique therapeutic process allows a person to find their voice, and healing, while providing a space for growth, change, and transformation in their life.
From Autumn about her work:
Given my background in both dance and visual art, choreographing in response to “Vernon Pratt: All the Possibilities of Sixteen,” and then getting to perform that choreography while surrounded by the artwork, is really an enriching experience. I make a lot more dances than visual artwork these days, so having these opportunities to create and perform in conjunction with this exhibition is a way to keep that studio artist alive inside of me. When I first visited the Gregg to see the exhibition, I was instantly struck by how encompassing the work is; it is really quite mesmerizing to be in the space. Once I began working on movement material, Pratt’s very calculated, mathematical approach influenced how I crafted 4×4. The work begins with 16 gestures, and then myself and the other dancers continue to manipulate and transform those gestures throughout the 16-minute dance. Of course, having Rich Holly’s composition Denominators accompany the choreography was any easy choice as it is accompanying the exhibition already. It was not, however, an easy choice to decide on just three sections of the music to use; perhaps there is an evening-length concert in my future to find inspiration in the entire musical composition.
Performing with Belk in her choreography are two other NC State employees: Alexandra Burchette (Dance Program administrator) and John Miller IV (African American Cultural Center program coordinator), both alums of NC State’s Panoramic Dance Project, and local professional dancer Brianna Cooper (Code f.a.d. Company dancer).