OSWEGO — Tap dancer, choreographer and now MacArthur “genius grant” recipient Michelle Dorrance brings her innovative company Dorrance Dance to SUNY Oswego’s Hewitt Union ballroom at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 4.
Dorrance, featured at the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival the past three summers, embraces tap with a sense of mission — to honor its history as an American jazz vernacular. While deeply conscious of the past, the accomplished solo artist is making her mark by pushing the form and her troupe in exciting new directions.
Writing for The New Yorker, dance critic Brian Siebert calls her “one of the most imaginative tap choreographers working today.”
For her appearance with the Artswego Performing Arts Series, Dorrance will restage “SOUNDspace,” a piece commissioned four years ago by the Danspace Project in New York City.
The lively and playful piece explores the percussive soundscape created by her dancers as they move through the room, using special lighting effects and even total darkness to highlight the experience for her audience.
“SOUNDspace” has been cited as a turning point in Michelle Dorrance’s career.
Already noted as a featured performer with popular touring shows such as “STOMP,” she used the commission to advance her command of dance composition — integrating a range of urban dance idioms into her tap-centered work.
An Obie Award and wider recognition quickly followed.
Her many accolades were capped by a MacArthur Fellowship, commonly known as a “genius grant,” announced in early October.
“I try to show how much more cutting-edge the form can be,” Dorrance said. “I tap dance because of the thrill of its improvisation, the complexity of its music and the endless possibilities of its movement.”
During her residency at SUNY Oswego, Michelle Dorrance and members of her company will offer a lecture/demonstration on the history of tap at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 3, in Hewitt Union ballroom.
The educational program is free and open to the public.
Dorrance and troupe plan other sessions with dance enthusiasts at the college and in the community.
For more information, including a link to Dorrance’s recent appearance on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” visit oswego.edu/arts
Tickets to the Dorrance Dance performance of “SOUNDspace” are $20 ($5 for all students and youth), available at the college’s box offices, online at tickets.oswego.edu or by calling 315-312-2141.
Parking is included in the price of a ticket, and is available in the lot in front of Culkin Hall and the employee and commuter lots behind Hart and Funnelle residence halls.