Duncan Dance South
Many Faces of Love & New Works
Hattiesburg Arts Council
Saturday, February 17th at 5pm- FREE
723 Main Street, Hattiesburg, MS
www.duncandancesouth.org | @duncandancesouth
This concert is a collaboration between legacy Isadora Duncan dance artist Meg Brooker and Houston-based pianist Sherry Cheng. Brooker and Cheng's artistic collaboration originated in Houston, Texas, through work with Misha Penton's Divergence Vocal Theatre, and extended to the Noyes School of Rhythm in Portland, CT, where Cheng has served as resident pianist. The works on this program include selections from Béla Bartók, Frédéric Chopin, Edvard Grieg, Franz Liszt, and Sergei Prokofiev and will conclude with the Johannes Brahms' Op. 39 waltzes, choreographed by early modern dance artist Isadora Duncan as "The Many Faces of Love." Dancers on this program have been trained in both Duncan dance and in the work of Florence Fleming Noyes, and the Noyes influence is most evident in the new works and in structured improvisations.
Bagatelles, Op 6, Nos 2, 3, 4, 5
Composer: Béla Bartók
Choreographer/Dancer: Meg Brooker
Nocturne, Op 27, No 1
Composer: Frédéric Chopin
Open Improvisation- All Dancers
Lyric Pieces, Op 57, No 6, Homesickness
Composer: Edvard Grieg-
Le Mal du Pays, Homesickness
Composter: Franz Liszt
Choreographer/Dancer: Meg Brooker
Visions Fugitives, Op 22, Nos 1, 3, 5, 8
Composer: Sergei Prokofiev
Open Improvisation- All Dancers
The Many Faces of Love
Composer: Johannes Brahms' Op. 39 waltzes, Nos 16, 1, 2, 3, 4, 8, 10, 11, 13, 14, 15
Choreographer: Isadora Duncan (circa 1910-1912)
Staging: Meg Brooker
DDS Dancers: Meg Brooker with Kadie Cooper, Natasja Hall,
and Sarah Robertson
Guest Dancers: Merrie Kathleen Christmas, Tammy Sanford & Mississippi School of the Arts Dance
USM Dancers: Gabby Bass, Kamala Browning,
and Kate Mackey (faculty)
All works on the program played by Sherry Cheng.
& Duncan Dance South
Meg Brooker is Artistic Director of Duncan Dance South and serves as Professor of Dance and Director of The School of Performing and Visual Arts at The University of Southern Mississippi. She is a founder and steering committee member of the Isadora Duncan International Symposium; chair of the Isadora Duncan Archive Committee; and a former member of Lori Belilove & Company, Isadora Duncan Dance Foundation, NYC. Duncan Dance South is a regional dance company focused on preserving and passing on the works of early modern dance artists Isadora Duncan and Florence Fleming Noyes and on creating new works rooted in these early modern dance techniques. Activities include masterclasses, workshops, residencies, and performances. Recent performances include Orpheus Reimagined in collaboration with Portara Ensemble, produced by Metro Dance and the Nature Conservancy at the Parthenon in Centennial Park, Nashville, TN, and Live at the Hunter, a concert produced by the Hunter Museum of American Art in response to the Power, Passion & Pose exhibit of dance photography by Ken Browar and Deborah Ory, NYC Dance Project. Dancers Kadie Cooper (Atlanta, GA- @kadiecooper_), Jess Ortega (Chattanooga, TN- @jess.steedortega), and Sarah Robertson (Jackson, MS- @srobertson1918) have trained with Meg in both Duncan dance and Noyes Rhythm. www.duncandancesouth.org
Sherry Cheng holds a Master of Music degree in piano performance from the University of Maryland and a Bachelor of Music degree in piano performance from the University of Oklahoma. Cheng is deeply engaged in various aspects of Houston’s diverse arts community. As a musician, she performs regularly in chamber music concerts, collaborating with musicians from the Houston Symphony and other freelance musicians in projects that range from traditional to avant-garde. As an arts writer and music critic, she is a contributing editor for Arts and Culture TX magazine, writing feature stories across multiple arts disciplines. As an advocate for bringing classical performing arts into under-represented communities, she has served on Houston Grand Opera’s Cultural Advisory Committee. As an early childhood music educator, she has taught Preschool music for 23 years and continues to be a fierce champion for arts integration in the school curriculum. Currently Cheng serves on the board of Houston Brass Quintet as well as Aurora Picture Show, a non-profit media arts organization dedicated to promoting the understanding and appreciation of moving image art.
Merrie Kathleen Christmas
“Lifedancer” Merrie Kathleen Christmas began studying ballet as a child with Leif Anderson and Nancy Lane Wright on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. During high school, she studied ballet in New Orleans with Harvey Hysell (Ballet Hysell). Merrie was introduced to modern dance at the University of Southern Mississippi in the 1970s by Patricia McConnell (Amacker). She was one of the earliest dance majors at USM, graduating with a BFA in dance/Theater Arts in 1978. She was awarded a teaching scholarship in the graduate program of The Ohio State University in 1981 and completed a Master of Arts in Dance there in 1983. During her years in Ohio, she taught at Wesleyan College and performed with the Columbus-based Moving Arts Company, in addition to touring a solo concert. She began studying and performing Isadora Duncan Dance in 1994 with New Orleans-based Kathryne Cassis and the Isadora Duncan Repertory Company. She met dance partner Stepanie Condon Perry during that time. In 2003 Stephanie would introduce Merrie to Dr. Jeanne Bresciani of The Isadora Duncan International Institute in New York City. The two dancers began traveling to New York to study intensively with Dr. Bresciani and created a local New Orleans venue for performance of Duncan Dance, the Lyric Dance Ensemble. The introduction of Zoom dance classes during the pandemic allowed Merrie to continue her Duncan Dance experience with Dr. Bresciani on a far more intensive basis. She was invited to perform with the Isadora Duncan International Institute Dancers in Europe in 2022. Today, at age 71, she uses the Duncan Dance idiom to create spontaneous, original dance works and actively participates in performance, choreography and teaching on a local basis.
Merrie is also the owner/manager of Nurse Paralegal USA, a legal nurse consulting firm.
& Mississippi School of the Arts
Tammy Stanford is founder of dance at the Mississippi School of the Arts, a residential conservatory-based arts high school. She holds an Ed.S in K-12 Dance and Theatre licensure, an MFA in dance from Montclair State University, BFA in dance from the University of Southern Mississippi. Stanford’s awards include AIM for outstanding career achievement in dance from USM, Thad Cochran Distinguished Arts Educator from MAAE, and the Dance Career Award by Fini Dance New York/Italy. She is chair of MDE Dance Educator Partnership K-12, former teaching artist for Mississippi Arts Commission, mentor teacher for NDEO, USM, and dance ambassador and choreographer for Fini Dance New York/Italy International Dance Festival and Gala. Stanford’s improvisational process, “unraveling” is how she generates dances. Research for her ongoing Footfalls series includes phenomenological and sensory impacts of T.S. Eliot’s poetic imagery from the Four Quartets. Her works have been selected for various state, national, and international festivals and galas.