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Southern Miss to debut original works at Fall dance concert

Whether you prefer comedy, tragedy or just exquisite dancing, the University of Southern Mississippi Repertory Dance Company’s Annual Fall Dance Concert is sure to fill all expectations. Like previous productions, this year’s installment will present original dance works from students, faculty and a special guest artist.

The production includes three 7:30 p.m. performances Nov. 9-11 and a Sunday matinee at 2 p.m. on Nov. 12 at the Mannoni Performing Arts Center.

Some unusual items have made it onto the stage this fall, including an office chair and a wide array of cleaning products. Senior dance major Christopher Grant said he sought to create a “clever, creative, unpredictable” dance that builds the audience’s anticipation for what is coming next.

His solo, “Staple Me,” will be performed by fellow dance major Kathleen Stansell and explores the endless possibilities of interacting with a spinning, rolling, armless desk chair.

Visiting Guest Artist Carrie Brueck has created a work that uses more than 30 cleaning products as part of her set. “Contaminated” comments on society’s obsession with cleanliness and order.

At times funny and at other times dead serious, Brueck examines the role of advertising and societal norms in convincing her audience of what should be feared. In addition to the 11 dancers and plethora of props, the piece also incorporates video.

“I always treat video as another entity on stage,” Brueck explained. “It’s not just a background but is as important to the dance as the music.”

Stacy Reischman, director of the dance program at Southern Miss, has created an emotionally riveting work, “Misery. Love. Company.” Company dancers Cristina Catalani, Grant and Shelley Manry perfectly embody the sadness inherent in the choreography through their performance, and Reischman draws it all together with a set that appears at the end, reinforcing the magic of the work.

Faculty member Julie Hammond’s piece, “Skinny Dippin’,” is a collaboration between dancers, choreographer and musician and composer Cary Hudson, a renowned Mississippi singer and songwriter with a strong fan base in Hattiesburg. Hudson will accompany the dancers live on stage in this moving metaphor of being vulnerable and taking risks.

Also works featured in the concert will come courtesy of dance majors Rebecca Chandler, Kathryn Gray, Shelley Manry and Kellie St. Cyr.

The Southern Miss Repertory Dance Company performs biannually, presenting original choreography by faculty, students and guest artists. Dancers are selected for the company by audition and perform concerts in a variety of venues both on and off campus. Most often, the works presented will have been newly-created during the semester in which they are shown and receive their premiere at Southern Miss.

Tickets for each show of the series are $6 for students; $10 for Southern Miss faculty, staff, alumni and senior citizens; and $15 for general admission. For tickets, call the Southern Miss Ticket Office at 601.266.5418 or 800.844.8425. Order online at www.southernmisstickets.com .