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Published on January 26th, 2012 | by Newt Rayburn


Mississippi: The Dance Company presents “A Winter Collection” at Ole Miss February 3-5, 2012

Mississippi: The Dance Company presents “A Winter Collection” at Ole Miss February 3-5, 2012


(left to right) Alex Armstrong, Hilton Mozee and Alyssa Barnhill.

Mississippi: The Dance Company, in association with Ole Miss Theatre, presents “A Winter Collection” February 2nd through February 4th at 7:30 pm with a 2:00 pm matinee on February 5th. A special receptionwill be held immediately following the February 4th performance. All performances are scheduled to take place in Meek Auditorium on the University of Mississippi campus. Jennifer Mizenko, Professor of Movement and Dance at the University of Mississippi department of Theatre Arts, is the artistic director of the company. Ms. Mizenko described the upcoming dance concert as “a delightful dance performance, collecting together contemporary dances ranging in style from modern to ballet to tap.  The concert will present works set to the American classic My Funny Valentine, as well as contemporary music by DeVotchKa.  Tap dance and contemporary dance will also be explored in relationship to the spoken word.  And Vivaldi’s brilliant masterpiece Winter is the feature of the concert.”

The concert will also feature a unique work inspired by the University of Mississippi Common Reading Experience, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.  The dance piece is entitled “Hela”.  In order to create the movement for this work, choreographer Jennifer Mizenko viewed photographs and videos of Hela cells multiplying.  Through the choreographic process Ms. Mizenko used this research to reflect the amazing process of cellular movement and cell division.

Rene Pulliam, head of the musical theatre program at the University of Mississippi department of Theatre Arts, has created a piece for the concert that combines tap dance with the spoken word. “A Winter Collection” will also feature a student choreographed piece created by Sam Damare, a senior studying musical theatre in the UM department of Theatre Arts.

Sam Damane lifts Alex Armstrong (left) as Hilton Mozee lifts Alyssa Barnhill.

In addition, “A Winter Collection” will also include works by two Guest Artists, Jan Dijkwel and Michael Foley.  These original works were created specifically for Mississippi: The Dance Company student dancers. Jan Dijkwel was an Associate Professor of Dance at Brigham Young University for many years and currently teaches ballet classes for the University of Mississippi department of Theatre Arts. Jan performed extensively with the Dutch National Ballet and has received national and international recognition for his choreography. His work has been seen in Europe, Asia, and the United States.

Michael Foley has been a part of the world of professional dance for over 15 years. While based in New York City, Michael performed throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia. Michael has taught dance workshops in the United States, Canada, Europe, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Panama, and Cuba. Michael was a faculty member at the Dance Space Center in New York City for 10 years. He currently teaches modern dance at the University of South Florida. Michael arrived to the University of Mississippi campus on January 9th to create his contribution to “A Winter Collection”.

Michael began creating the piece with the Mississippi: The Dance company student dancers upon his arrival and completed choreography January 13th. Michael used four hours each day to create and fine tune the piece. Madi Marlatte, one of the dancers in the piece, shared her experience working with Michael Foley.  “It is incredible to have a guest artist come in and teach because it is always nice to try someone else’s style of dance. Throughout the week we learned short phrases of dance that we gradually put together into one big dance. We did lots of lifts during the week, which was a completely new experience for me, but one that I definitely enjoyed. Michael Foley is an amazing dancer and choreographer. I enjoyed the week so much and was able to gradually let go of my prior dance training and relax into dancing just for dancing’s sake.”

“A Winter Collection” will be a wonderful opportunity to experience a wide range of dance styles created by a collection of professional, educational, and student artists. For ticket information please call the University of Mississippi Box Office. 662-915-7411.

Distracted: Presented by Ole Miss Theatre (2/28-3/4)

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About the Author

Newt Rayburn founded THE LOCAL VOICE in March of 2006. Previously, Newt was Editor of PROFANE EXISTENCE in Minneapolis, and Art Director for Ole Miss' LIVING BLUES magazine. Newt won a National Magazine Award in 1999 for his SOUTHERN MUSIC ISSUE with THE OXFORD AMERICAN. A seventh-generation Lafayette County, Mississippian, Newt Rayburn's alter ego—Neuter Cooter—lead the Mississippi band THE COOTERS to Rocknoll Glory across the USA from 1993-2018. Newt is a family man who also is a publisher, photographer, writer, musician, landlord, and Civil War enthusiast.

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