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Bethlehem, Pa., March 11, 2010—Members of the Moravian College Dance Company—present and past—will spin, leap, and glide across the stage of Foy Concert Hall March 26 and 27 in celebration of 35 years of dance at the College. The retrospective event, under the artistic direction of Mary Anne Hoffman, will include works choreographed and performed by students, alumni, faculty members, and local guest artists from the Lehigh Valley School of the Performing Arts, Ballet Guild of the Lehigh Valley, and the Coral Nolan Academy of Dance.
The Moravian student troupe will perform modern, jazz, and ballet pieces, including several original works. A group of Dance Company alumni will return to reprise their popular 2007 pas-de-deux, choreographed by Kathryn Washer ’05. Former artistic director Pattie Bostick also will join the celebration with a choreographed dance.
Dance company advisor Dawn Ketterman Benner, who is also Moravian’s head women’s tennis coach and associate director of athletics, began the company as a club in 1975. “Our first public spring performance was performed in Johnston Hall with no lighting, very simple costumes, and one-page mimeographed program,” she recalled. “The big piece that year was ‘Rhapsody in Blue.’”
A founding member of the Lehigh Valley Dance Consortium with professional connections in the area and in New York, Ketterman Benner helped the club grow in membership and support. “We became the Moravian College Dancers, and then the Moravian College Dance Company,” she explained. In 2000, after 25 years as the dance company’s full-time director, Ketterman Benner assumed a more behind-the-scenes role as advisor. “The artistic directors that have followed me have had extensive training,” she said. “Mary Anne has taken the dancers to a whole new level.”
Moravian dancers say membership lasts a lifetime. “Collaborating with these incredible young women to create art forms a unique bond that lasts forever,” said Ketterman Benner. “It’s an opportunity you don’t always get in the classroom, and I’m so proud and glad to have had that. … I feel blessed to have this opportunity.”
As advisor, she assists Hoffman in the weeks leading up to major performances, manages company finances, and oversees the Dawn Ketterman Benner Dance Fund, which provides dance master classes and field trips. For the 2010 anniversary celebration, she also choreographed the liturgical dance “Twelve Gates to the City,” in honor of the Moravian Liturgical Dancers, a 1960s student ensemble.
The Moravian College Dancers will celebrate 35 years of dance on Friday, March 26 and Saturday, March 27 at 7:30 p.m., in Foy Concert Hall Admission is $5. Foy Hall is located on the Priscilla Payne Hurd Campus at the corner of Main and Church Streets in downtown historic Bethlehem. For more information, call 610-861-1481.
Moravian College is a private, coeducational, selective liberal arts college located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Tracing its founding to 1742, it is recognized as America's sixth-oldest college. Visit the Web site at www.moravian.edu.