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ARDT works with local dance studio for fall show

Rebecca Howard

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The essence of “The Nutcracker” and innovative choreography will illuminate the stage of Morgan Auditorium tonight as Alabama Reparatory Dance Theatre presents excerpts from “The Nutcracker,” as well as original choreography from UA dance professors. Senior dance major Alex Murphy said the dancers hope to assure that audience members leave inspired. “I want them to get what we’re trying to say,” Murphy said. “Strive,” choreographed by assistant professor of dance Sarah Barry, exposes the challenge of aspiring for success and falling short. Through the collaborative movement, the dance shows the reality of human struggle and trusting people to bring you back up. “The piece was a lot of collaborative following and working off each other,” Murphy said. “How can I not feel the struggle when I watch everyone struggle around me?” The dancers try to convince the audience by embodying their own personal stories of perseverance. Senior dance major Allison Pohlman said not being able to get what you want is what makes the piece so great. “Sarah always challenges us to be individualistic and to create movement that means something on and off the stage,” Pohlman said. Director of dance Cornelius Carter’s piece, “Running to Nowhere,” reflects the emotional reaction people feel toward the downfall of the economy and job market. “We’re all running constantly, trying to make our lives work,” Carter said. “Now I feel like we’re running to nowhere. People are questioning more than ever.” Carter hopes to create hope with his piece by conveying a unique message revealed through athletic choreography. “The piece is technical and athletic, but fun,” Pohlman said. ARDT also collaborated with Tuscaloosa Community Dancers, a local non-profit organization, for the fall performance. Rita Snyder, associate professor of dance, said Tuscaloosa Community Dancers asked ARDT to collaborate earlier this year. “The current artistic director and the Tuscaloosa Community Dancers board members thought it would be an interesting project to collaborate with the University,” Snyder said. Th Tuscaloosa Community Dancers will have its dancers performing alongside UA dancers in tonight’s “Waltz of the Flowers.” In late November, UA dancers will join the Tuscaloosa Community Dancers at the Bama Theatre for the “Waltz of the Flowers” and to perform the “Grand Pas de Deux.” The rehearsal process faced some setbacks for “Grand Pas de Deux” dancers Alex Murphy and Ryan Arnold, both senior dance majors. Arnold was hospitalized with the flu for a week, and Murphy said catching up was a challenge. “It was challenging for him getting his strength back and my stamina up,” Murphy said. Though Arnold faced the week in the hospital, the pair worked hard outside of rehearsal on their own time to perfect their performance. The performance also features a contemporary pointe piece, “The Understanding,” choreographed by assistant professor of dance Qianping Guo. Carter also choreographed a second piece, “Simone with Love,” which reflects the complexity of the joys and pains of relationships. The show ends with an energetic jazz piece choreographed by assistant professor of theatre and dance Stacy Allen. ARDT opens tonight and runs through Thursday at 7:30 p.m. and Friday at 5:30 p.m. in Morgan Auditorium. Tickets can be purchased at the box office in Rowand-Johnson Hall or online at theatre.ua.edu. Student tickets are $12, faculty and seniors are $15, and adults are $18.

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ARDT works with local dance studio for fall show