West Virginia University’s Orchesis Dance Ensemble celebrates its return to the newly renovated Lyell B. Clay Concert Theatre at the Creative Arts Center, March 4-7, with a concert featuringAn American in Paris (a Reflection).

Orchesis also celebrates its 76th anniversary with Dance Concert 2004, which features the world premiere ofPick’in It Up,a new choreography by Alan Sener, the dance program’s 2003 artist-in-residence, as well as pieces by the faculty and student choreographers in modern, ballet, pointe, lyrical, jazz and theatre movement.

Under the artistic direction of Professor Mary Kathryne (Kacy) Wiedebusch and Assistant Director Carole Wiedebusch, the concert will be held Thursday through Sunday, March 4-7, in the Lyell B. Clay Concert Theatre. The performance on Sunday, March 7, will be a 2 p.m. matinee. All other performances are at 7:30 p.m.

Professor Kacy Wiedebusch, who is coordinator of the dance program in the College of Creative Arts, founded the artist-in-residence program, which has been a major catalyst in the professional development of students studying dance at WVU . Each year since 1978, an artist of national reputation has been in residence at WVU to create new work and to teach and inspire students.

Alan Sener, who is associate professor of dance at the University of Iowa and artistic director of the Falco Repertory in New York City, served as artist-in-residence at WVU last fall, where he worked with dance classes, and conducted choreography workshops.

It’s important for students to have the opportunity to study with guest artists in order to incorporate new styles and new techniques with their training,Wiedebusch said.

Sener was principal dancer with the Louis Falco Dance Company from 1978 to 1983 and performed extensively in theatres and on television throughout the world. He has conducted master classes and choreography workshops worldwide. In addition, he has choreographed national television commercials, music videos, and feature films.

In addition to Sener’s work, the concert will feature members of the Orchesis Dance Ensemble dancing in choreographies fromAn American in Paris,with music by George and Ira Gershwin. This is a story of a young American artist visiting Paris. The choreographic interpretation is a reflection of the original story with innovation and creativity that will delight the audience in this celebration finale.

Student choreographers in the Orchesis Dance Ensemble are Brianna Biro, Jackie Cain, Emily Danzer and Jessie Stroech. Musical selections for their works are:Time to Say Goodbye,by Sarah Brightman;Xplode,by Paul Oakenfold;Underworld,by Kitaro;Luck Be A Lady Tonight,by Barbra Streisand;Via Dolorosa.Faculty pointe pieceBlue Danube Waltzby Strauss is choreographed by Alison Cox.

WVU Theatre students will present two works of theatre movement by Max Friedman, Jackie Vaughn and Evie White. Music will includeFreedom 90by George Michael and works by Simone, Barber, The Beta Band and others.

The Orchesis Dance Ensemble was founded in 1928-29 with a nucleus of young women

who were experimenting with a new dance form calledcreative dance,offering the opportunity of free expression with the body as the instrument of interpretation, according to Kacy Wiedebusch.

The Ensemble has grown and known many forms to its present college company of talented young men and women,she said.

Wiedebusch has been artistic director of the Orchesis Dance Ensemble for the past 47 years, and she has directed and produced a dance concert at WVU during each of those years. She was also the driving force in the creation of the E. Moore Hall Dance Studio, built in 1960 on WVU ’s downtown campus.

Wiedebusch has received two national awards for her commitment to dance on the collegiate/national level and has been honored as a founding member of the American College Dance Festival Association. She founded the WVU Artist-in-Residence Program in 1978 and her on-going success with 26 national and international artists has brought recognition to the WVU dance program.

When Orchesis had its first concert in the Creative Arts Center’s Concert Theatre in 1976, it was a major collaborative work calledAmerica: Frontiers of Hope,which celebrated our nation’s Bicentennial.This year is the 76th anniversary of the Orchesis Dance Ensemble and with our return to the Concert Theatre stage, we wanted to do something special to celebrate the newly renovated Lyell B. Clay Theatre,Wiedebusch said.So we once again have planned a major work that involves the entire dance company.

Members of the Orchesis Dance Ensemble are the top students currently studying for a minor in dance at WVU . Initiated in 2000, the minor in dance currently has more than one hundred students from across the university.

Advance tickets for WVU Dance Concert 2004 are available at the Mountainlair or CAC Box Offices or by calling 304-293-SHOW (7469). Advance sales and organizations will have a special discount.

For more information, contact the Dance Office at 304-293-8623 or 304-293-2020, ext. 3120