WILLIAMSTOWN – The ’62 Center for Theatre and Dance unveiled its nineteenth season of extraordinary theatre, music, and dance programming for the Williams College community and beyond.
Faculty and staff at the acclaimed training and performance space say they are excited to recommit to their mission to integrate the arts into academic life on campus and in the Berkshires community.
Producing Director Randal Fippinger said “The artists we present on our stages, studios, and classrooms—students and professionals alike—strive to challenge our assumptions of the human condition. At the heart of all our work is story-telling. These stories remind us of who we are, and who we can be in the world. As always, student and Department productions, which are the lifeblood of this building, set the stage for our season.”
Kicking off the Visiting Artist Series, Ronald K. Brown / EVIDENCE returns to campus on Friday, September 29th at 8 PM with a repertory program that will include critically acclaimed works, The Equality of Night and Day (TEND) with a commissioned score by Jason Moran, spoken word by Angela Davis and photo curation by Deb Willis; Open Door, a hot Afro-Cuban offering, set to a score by Arturo O’Farrill and the Afro-Latin jazz ensemble, that was originally set on the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater; Upside Down is an excerpt from the evening-length work Destiny.
In February, the Center will bring six artistic voices for its Queering Perspectives Festival. The Festival interrogates conventional, culturally normative performance.
“We want to create a platform for the othered, experimental, and subversive,” explained Fippinger, “pushing the boundaries of their form in pursuit of new research and artistic production. QPF has the agenda of sparking new conversations about performance on campus. We want performance to be a springboard for conversation into sexualities, genders, bodies, races, ethnicities, abilities, and desires.”
On February 9th and 19th, Alexander Davis’ This Dance is Available for Touring will explore practices of developing, creating, and executing queer embodied performance. On February 9th, Filipinx-American dancer, choreographer, and community organizer Jay Carlon presents work-in-progress TALAGA. Your Sexts Are Shit: Older Better Letters is the new solo show from Rachel Mars that will perform on February 22nd and 23rd. Cabaret artist, writer, and performer Salty Brine brings the celebrated drag performance Bigmouth Strikes Again: The Smiths Show on February 23rd and 24th.
Rounding out the Visiting Artists season sees the return of award-winning, rising star Michelle J. Rodriguez ’12 for a creative residency of her new musical theater work Presencia.
The Theatre Department starts the year, November 9th through the 11th, with a special collaboration, co-mentored by faculty members Amy Holzapfel And Erica Dankmeyer to present Pulitzer finalist, Dance Nation, by Clare Barron. Dance Nation presents a tender and unfiltered portrait of youth, girlhood, ambition, friendship, and what it takes to become the star dancer. The Department follows up on April 25th to 27 with the “electropop opera ripped from a slice of Tolstoy’s War and Peace,” David Malloy’s Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812, directed by Jessica Pearson-Blyer.
The Dance Department is expanding its popular Pachedu all-ensembles production in the fall, December 1st and 2nd, and in the spring, May 3rd and 4th. Building off pachedu’s meaning, “among ourselves,” these performances spotlight the faculty and student collaborations of CoDa (Contemporary Dance Dance Ensemble), Artistic Directors Erica Dankmeyer and Janine Parker; Sankofa (step-dance), Sankofa Presidents Tiffany Vargas ’24 and Obi Nwako ’24; Kusika (traditional African dance, drumming, and storytelling), Artistic Directors Sandra L. Burton and Tendai Muparutsa; the Zambezi Marimba Band, Artistic Director Tendai Muparutsa. The Department will also present the always sold-out Step Competition, on March 9th, and Zambezi Dance Party!,on February 16th and 17th.
The ’62 Center is also developing a series of creative Residencies with Williams’ Gaudino Scholar Amy Holzapfel. A Workshop with Composer, Vocalist, and Writer Truth Future Bachman will be on September 28th. In SONGSPACE, artists will work with composer, vocalist, and writer Truth Future Bachman to build a generous and collaborative space that explores the songwriting process through sensation, intention, and action. On October 4th, Choreographies of Deep Listening, a workshop with Andrew Schneider and Collaborators from Sasha Waltz & Guests Dance Company will be presented. Gaudino Creative Residencies support short-term campus visits by artists, makers, or practitioners intending to share their knowledge, skills, and creative expertise directly with students through modes of experiential or hands-on learning that, aligning with the aims of the Gaudino Fund, emphasize reflecting, confronting individual biases, and learning to know ourselves differently.
All tickets at the ’62 Center are deeply discounted to make our performances accessible. All are welcome. The public is encouraged to join the Center on this exciting journey this season.