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Dance Repertory Theatre celebrates the legacy of dance in Kinesthetic Imperative, March 6-9

The University of Texas at Austin’s award-winning ensemble Dance Repertory Theatre returns to the B. Iden Payne Theatre in Kinesthetic Imperative March 6-9. The annual spring concert features unique and compelling works created by renowned choreographers, including Merce Cunningham, a leader of American avant-garde dance.

Kinesthetic Imperative highlights include Merce Cunningham’s celebrated Beach Birds. A quiet and beguiling work, this dance from his nature studies challenges notions of time and order. Dance Repertory Theatre is only the third company since Beach Birds’ 1991 premiere to be allowed to perform Cunningham’s masterpiece. With a career spanning seventy years, Cunningham earned some of the highest honors bestowed in the arts, including the National Medal of Arts (1990), the MacArthur Fellowship (1985), and Japan’s Praemium Imperiale (2005).

Other work includes Clear the Air, created by Millicent Johnnie while she was working with the University of Cape Town on "The Nelson Mandela Project" in South Africa in 2013. Steeped in conversations around Black Conscious Movement efforts, injustice stemming from economic inequality, and racial discrimination, Johnnie learned of the Trayvon Martin verdict. Reflective and healing, Clear the Air explores perception, confrontation, and constructs of "good" and bad." An assistant professor of dance at Southern Methodist University, Johnnie has toured as resident choreographer and rehearsal director for Urban Bush Women (New York) and has earned awards for her work at the Prague International Dance Festival.

Three dancers extending legs and arms
"Quiver" by David Justin, 2013. Photography by Lawrence Peart

David Justin’s Quiver, recently performed at Dance Gallery Festival (New York) and Fall For Dance (UT Austin), delves into the mythology of Eros (Cupid) and presents a glimpse of the nature of humanity in relation to love. Justin is an associate professor at The University of Texas at Austin and serves as the co-artistic director of Dance Repertory Theatre. He is a former principal dancer for the Birmingham Royal Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, and Boston Ballet.

Student choreographers Kelsey Oliver and Erica Saucedo round out the concert with the premieres of their new works. The Great Green Greazy Limpopo River by Oliver explores aging, a result of a constant tension between past and future. Saucedo’s work, White Noise (RGB), layers and unpacks the effects of light on movements, sounds, and bodies covered in interactive costumes.

Dance Repertory Theatre presents Kinesthetic Imperative
Artistic Directors: David Justin and Yacov Sharir

Beach Birds
Choreography by Merce Cunningham

The Great Green Greazy Limpopo River (premiere)
Choreography by Kelsey Oliver

Choreography by David Justin

White Noise (RGB) (premiere)
Choreography by Erica Saucedo

Clear the Air
By Millicent Johnnie

For more information on Kinesthetic Imperative, please visit


March 6-9, 2014 – The University of Texas at Austin Department of Theatre and Dance presents Kinesthetic Imperative at the B. Iden Payne Theatre (300 E. 23rd Street). A map of the campus: Performance times are March 6-8 at 8:00 p.m. and March 8-9 at 2:00 p.m. Tickets ($25 adults, $20 UT faculty & staff, $15 student) are now on sale at authorized ticket outlets, which include the Bass Concert Hall Box Office, most H-E-B stores and all Texas Box Office outlets, online at, or by calling (512) 477-6060 or (800) 982-BEVO.

Friday, February 21, 2014