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Two Weekends - Two Programs FRESH DANCE Opens April 22

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NEW PALTZ -- Fresh Dance, an annual production of the Department of Theatre Arts uniting professional dancers, regional dance companies, and students opens a two-week run in McKenna Theatre beginning April 22. With a focus on choreography and performance across a diverse spectrum of dance, the production offers original solo and ensemble works accompanied by an array of musical accompaniment.

Guest artists includes Leajato Amara Robinson, a principal performer in the hit show Tap Dogs, and Artist-in-Residence this Spring at SUNY New Paltz. Robinson's students will perform three movements from a larger work he choreographed entitled "SBOZ" - Supreme Beings Of Leisure. These include a quartet, quintet, and full ensemble.

Maureen Mansfield, a former principle dancer with the Paul Taylor Dance Company has collaborated with Stephen Kitsakos on December Snow, presented in Program I. Performed to live piano accompaniment, the work includes music and lyrics of Broadway composer Maury Yeston, and provides a compelling framework for the singers and dancers in the work.

Program II features a performance of Kathak Parampara by the North Indian Classical Kathak Dance Company under the direction of Pandit Satya Narayana Charka. Karhak Parampara is a dance sequence which portrays rhythmic patterns and expressive aspects that convey a sense of pure joy with a brilliant display of footwork and pirouettes.

Charka directs the East-West School of Dance in Monroe, New York, and is recognized as one of the foremost exponents of Indian classical dance. He has presented numerous ballets and traditional Indian dance recitals both nationally and internationally. Charka has also served as a cultural representative appointed by the government of India in Japan, Australia, and the Fiji Islands. In addition, he was selected as the premier artist in major festivals at the Sydney Opera House for four consecutive years.

The Figures in Flight Dance Company, Susan Slotnick artistic director, is a diverse group of young adults from all over Ulster, Dutchess and Saratoga counties. The company's mission uses theatre and dnace to prevent violence, promote tolerance and teach children to be compassionate and "practice kindness." They perform in school assemblies throughout New York State. In Program I, Figures In Flight will perform L'Chaim.

Dancers from Madeline's Dance Center of Highland, New York, (who were heralded for their performance at The Roya Gala 2003, held at the Bardavon in November) will perform Let Me Fall in Program II. Fresh Dance is complemented by two open forums that will take place following the performances on April 24 and May 1. Audience members are invited to participate in a question and answer session with choreographers and designers following these performances.

Master classes in dance will be conducted by Leajato Amara Robinson in tap dance and Pandit Satya Narayana Charka in Indian dance on separate days. To register for a master class call 845-257-3865. All of the special events are free and open to all.

Program I April 21, 22, 23. 24, 8:00 p.m. April 25, 2:00 p.m. McKenna Theatre Tickets: $12 general, $10 students/seniors

Program II April 28, 29, 30, May 1, 8:00 p.m. May 2, 2:00 p.m. McKenna Theatre Tickets: $12 general, $10 students/senior Master Class I Leajato Amara Robinson Saturday, April 24, 2:00 p.m. McKenna Theatre Free and open to all

Master Class II Pandit Satya Narayana Charka Friday, April 30, 4:00 p.m. McKenna Theatre Free and open to all Open Forum I Saturday, April 24, approx. 10:00 p.m. McKenna Theatre Free and open to all

Open Forum II Saturday, May 1, approx. 10:00 p.m. McKenna Theatre Free and open to all Tickets to Fresh Dance are $12 adults, $10 students and senior citizens. They are available by calling 845-257-3880 or on the Web at Buy a ticket to Program I and your ticket to Program II is half-price.