Seán Curran Company and Third Coast Percussion at UAB’s Alys Stephens Center Oct. 5

September 13, 2018
by Shannon Thomason

Seán Curran Company will opens its 20th anniversary season with its debut performance with Third Coast Percussion at the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center.

For the performance, Curran and nine exceptional dancers look back at the company’s history, reimagining its hallmark “Abstract Concrete” from 2000, and look forward, continuing their investigation into human connections, relationships and universal truths with the world premiere of a piece commissioned by the Alys Stephens Center, “Everywhere All the Time.” The program includes live music by Grammy Award-winning ensemble Third Coast Percussion, who performed at the ASC in March 2018.

An “Inside the Arts” pre-performance talk is at 7 p.m. The performance is at 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 5. Tickets are $25, with $10 student tickets. Call 205-975-2787 or click here for tickets.

Percussion music has permeated Curran’s spirited, postmodern work. Its inherent rhythm serves as the beating heart of the robust “Abstract Concrete.” First performed at Central Park SummerStage in 2000, the work will be reimagined with original music by Third Coast Percussion and ensemble member David Skidmore. Mark Randall’s striking, timeless black and white visual design reveals unconventional couplings as Curran’s choreography seeks again and again to answer the question of how we define ourselves: who dances with whom; who pairs off; and who is left alone.

Delving deeper into these themes and excavating the primordial nature of percussion music, “Everywhere All the Time” contemplates the essential yet conflicted relationship of humans with the world. In increasingly polarized and tumultuous times, we are at once more interconnected and more solitary, on the verge of spiraling into collective loneliness. “Everywhere All the Time” includes music by celebrated Irish composer Donnacha Dennehy; clear tubing stretched from the musicians’ mouths to the head of the drums creates tension to stretch and change the sounds of percussion instruments in his innovative composition. Music is akin to weather – bombastic moments of thunder punctuate a sustained soundscape, acting as metaphor for an internal storm of emotions raging fitfully below the surface. Quiet moments – droplets, eddies – take on heightened meaning; a quartet flows across the stage recalling an ocean wave, as regular yet as visually and sonically arresting as the tides.

Seán Curran Company, which was founded in 1997, has presented 27 premieres and toured to more than 65 venues in the United States, France, Germany, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic and Turkmenistan. The company’s dancers are Elizabeth Coker, co-artistic director; David Gonsler, Jin Ju Song-Begin, Dwayne Brown, Maurice Ivy Dowell, Mariel Harris, Jacoby Pruitt and Lauren Kravitz, with guest artists Rebecca Arends and Evan Copeland.

For more than 10 years, Third Coast Percussion has forged a unique path in the musical landscape with virtuosic, energetic performances that celebrate the extraordinary depth and breadth of musical possibilities in the world of percussion.

 


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