The University of Northern Colorado School of Theatre Arts and Dance performed their Spring Dance Concert on its opening night on Friday.
With 24 dancers and six designers, the performing arts program put on two dances centered around love, marriage and jealousy. “Appalachian Spring” was the first performance, choreographed by Monte Black, and “Pulcinella” was the second performance, choreographed by Christy O’Connell-Black. Each of the performances were choreographed as ballets.
The first performance of “Appalachian Spring” was in 1944, choreographed by Martha Graham and performed by her company.
According to Black, who is also the coordinator of the dance minor program, he was drawn back into his childhood when he began thinking about how to approach the “Appalachian Spring” piece. Black grew up in Casper, Wyoming and attended his first “barn dance” at the age of five.
Graham wrote this piece about the Appalachian Mountains, but Black felt more of a connection to the Rocky Mountains.
“So – even though the title is ‘Appalachian Spring’ – it is very much a Rocky Mountain Story you are about to see,” Black said in the show’s playbill.
Lillian Buoncore, a junior musical theatre major and dance minor, and sophomore Addison Williams, who is a double acting and theatre education major with a minor in dance, starred in “Appalachian Spring,” which focuses on the marriage between the two lovers.
Black’s wife, Christy O’Connell-Black, choreographed “Pulcinella,” which was first performed in 1920 at the Paris Opera and composed by Igor Stravinsky. O’Connell-Black is Greeley Central High School’s Arts Magnet Program Coordinator and dance instructor, as well as a dance instructor at UNC.
“This staging features all of the outrageous love, folly and jealousy told through the lively and spirited characters and their classical choreography,” O’Connell-Black said in the playbill.
In this portion of the concert, UNC sophomore John Baylon, a theatre studies major, starred as Pulcinella, alongside love interest Pimpinella played by sophomore Kira Wendland, a musical theatere major.
“Pulcinella” takes place in Italy, and is about the love between Pulcinella and Pimpinella. After Pulcinella betrays Pimpinella, he creates a plan in order to be forgiven.
Both performances were accompanied by UNC’s School of Music Orchestra, with conductors Michael Alexander and Russell Guyver.
The next Theatre Arts and Dance performance will be “Jesus Christ Superstar” at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 28, March 1 and March 3, and at 2 p.m. March 4 in the Langworthy Theatre.