UNL Evenings of Dance is April 20-23

The UNL Dance Program presents its annual Evenings of Dance concerts April 20-23 at the Lied Center’s Johnny Carson Theater. Lighting designed by Leo Monardo. Photo by Jordan Patt.
The UNL Dance Program presents its annual Evenings of Dance concerts April 20-23 at the Lied Center’s Johnny Carson Theater. Lighting designed by Leo Monardo. Photo by Jordan Patt.

UNL Evenings of Dance is April 20-23

calendar icon11 Apr 2023    user iconBy Kathe C. Andersen

Lincoln, Neb.—The Glenn Korff School of Music’s dance program presents their annual Evenings of Dance Concert April 20-23 in the Lied Center’s Johnny Carson Theater.

Performances are April 20-22 at 7:30 p.m. and April 23 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $12 general, $10 seniors, and $7 students/youth and are available online only at https://go.unl.edu/gksomtickets. In addition, the Friday, April 21 concert will be live webcast. Visit https://music.unl.edu/webcasts the day of the performance for the link.

This year’s Evenings of Dance concert will feature seven dances, including three works that were presented at the American College Dance Association Conference that was held at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln campus in March. 

Two of these dances were put forward for adjudication, and for only the second time in UNL dance’s history, both were selected by blind review for the culminating Gala Concert. Those two works included “Grasping Nostalgia and Dreadful Progress” by senior dance major Lanie Allen and “. . . for the case of spirit and community” by acclaimed Los Angeles dance artist Bernard Brown. Brown visited the program in October for 10 days of teaching and choreography.

“This piece is a movement exploration of physical and mental manifestations of burden,” said Allen of her work. “It explores some of the difficulties I’ve encountered in my journey with mental illness. Pushing, pulling and lifting, the eight dancers struggle with escape, recovery and relapse.”

Allen, a senior dance major from Lincoln, was excited about the work being selected for the conference Gala concert.

“It’s always amazing to be recognized for your work, especially for a piece so dear to me,” Allen said. “I was so excited to share the news with the amazing cast—they are as important to this piece as I am. I felt so supported by them and my professors. I can’t think of a better outcome for my final ACDA conference with UNL.”

A second student work, Mariela Hernandez’s “Can you hear me? Can I. . .” was also presented at the conference’s informal concert, held in the Johnny Carson Center for Emerging Media Arts to an audience of more than 300 people. 

“It is a piece that seeks to capture the difficulty of the act of communication, the feeling that words escape us or are insufficient to express what we feel or think,” said Hernandez, a post-baccalaureate dance major from Pachuca de Soto, Hidalgo, Mexico. “The window of hope that opens when we discover ourselves trying to listen to ourselves and to list to another.”

Hernandez was grateful for the experience of having her work performed at the conference.

“It gave me a lot of joy that our work was part of the sharing between colleges,” she said. “One never knows the impact we can have on others through our movement. As a person who grew up and has lived in another country, [the dance conference] has been one of my best experiences as a student at UNL. It gave me a frame of reference regarding the concerns of this generation of student-dancers in this area of the country.”

In addition to those three dances, there will be work by two additional guest artists—Jordan Patt and Veronica Santiago Moniello. Patt (B.A. 2018) is a dance program alumna who moved to New York City after graduation and has been successfully navigating a dance career there since 2018. Moniello is a multimedia dance artist from Venezuela who also lives and works in New York City.

The remaining two works on the program are choreographed by Associate Professor of Dance Susan Ourada and Associate Professor of Practice in Dance Hye-Won Hwang. 

“Dr. Hwang’s ‘Namoo’ is a beautiful and meditative piece combining music and poetry in the score,” Ourada said. “My lighthearted dance is my annual work with senior majors and minors, for whom this will be their final performance in Evenings of Dance.”

Additionally, the UNL Dance Alumni Board is hosting a post-performance meet and greet for UNL dance alumni following the 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 22 performance at Screamers Dining Cabaret, 803 Q St. in Lincoln. Dance alumnae Cary Twomey (B.F.A. 1992), Kari Swanson Neth (B.F.A. 1993) and Shelley Brackhan Fritz (B.F.A. 1993) will be hosting. The event includes light hors d’oeuvres, conversation and time to connect with alumni and current dance students. For more information on this event, e-mail unldancealumni@gmail.com.

Allen said performing in her final Evenings of Dance this year is bittersweet.

“UNL Dance has been my home for the last four years and connected me deeply to friends, colleagues, and professors,” she said. “This particular Evenings of Dance concert serves as a culmination of my senior year to me. It's so precious to me that I get the opportunity to share my voice through both choreography and performance in my final Evenings of Dance—not to mention that I get to do it alongside my favorite people.”

She also gives credit to the faculty and staff in the dance program.

“This concert definitely would not be possible without the diligent direction of our professors, Susan Ourada, Hye-Won Hwang, Lynne Nevin and Vince Learned,” Allen said. “They work tirelessly to give us amazing opportunities to participate in and share our artistry. We also are so grateful to be working with amazing lighting designers within the Johnny Carson School of Theatre who do so much for these pieces behind the scenes. This concert is a look at what this dance community has experienced in the last year, and I think that’s wonderful.”

Allen hopes people attend Evenings of Dance.

“Dance at UNL is strong and active,” she said. “This concert spans a wide range of topics with something for everyone. We work all year long to prepare top-tier pieces for our audience, and we’d love to share that with everyone. It is always an incredible way to expand your perspective and enjoy an evening of dance performance.”

Hernandez said performing for an audience is the critical last step of the process.

“I consider that a piece is incomplete until we meet with the audience,” she said. “Then the connections or disconnections happen. The choreographies of this program were created to communicate and connect with some else. They are crossed by the culture and perspective of all those who participate in it. I hope that more and more people join us to share and make something happen.”