Great Works Dance Project

  • Photo from performance of 'Alleluia.'

    "Alleluia": Choreographer: Robert Battle
    Performed in 2007

  • Photo from performance of 'Birthday Variations.'

    "Birthday Variations": Choreographer: Gerald Arpino
    Performed in 2010

  • Photo from performance of 'Dark Elegies.'

    "Dark Elegies": Choreographer: Antony Tudor
    Performed in 2008

  • Photo from performance of 'Temporal Trance.'

    "Temporal Trance": Choreographer: Frank Chaves
    Performed in 2009

Established in 1996, the Great Works Dance Project introduces Western Michigan University's students and southwest Michigan audiences to the finest world-class historic and contemporary dance works. Renowned choreographers and guest artists travel to WMU to stage and rehearse these masterworks. While here, they also teach master classes in the style of the choreographer and provide dynamic seminars to students and the general public about the historical significance of the dances.

WMU's Great Works Dance Project enriches and enhances the programs of the University's Department of Dance and brings works of the highest aesthetic standards to southwest Michigan. It is unique in that it includes works of major choreographers in all three Western theatrical dance forms: ballet, jazz and modern. Choreographers are chosen based on their contributions toward choreographic innovation.

WMU's Great Works Dance Project provides students an opportunity to:

  • Rehearse and perform major dance works
  • Understand and personally experience their dance heritage
  • Work and study with professional dance artists of the highest caliber

The project provides faculty and opportunity to:

  • Work with recognized dance professionals
  • Experience the depth of our artistic heritage

It provides adult and children audiences in southwest Michigan an opportunity to:

  • View works from some of the most innovative and influential choreographers
  • Attend presentations which address the historical significance of the works

WMU's Great Works Dance Project has already brought the work of the following renowned choreographers to southwest Michigan:

  • "Valse-Fantaisie," by George Balanchine, staged by Victoria Simon; Sharon Garber, rehearsal director (1997)
  • "Marimba," by Lar Lubovitch, staged by John Dayger; Nina Nelson, rehearsal director (1997)
  • "Swan Lake," Act II, by Lev Ivanov, staged and directed by Sharon Garber (1998)
  • "Rainbow Suite," choreographed and staged by Donald McKayle with staging assistance by Mary Hinkson; Trudy Cobb, rehearsal director (1999)
  • "Released In Their Own Custody," choreographed and staged by Billy Siegenfeld; Lindsey Thomas, rehearsal director (1999)
  • "Serenade," the first three movements, by George Balanchine, staged by Fiona Fuerstner, approved by Victoria Simon; Sharon Garber, rehearsal director (2000)
  • "Grusin Suite," choreographed and staged by Frank Chaves; Lindsey Thomas, rehearsal director (2001)
  • "Stars and Stripes," by George Balanchine, staged by Sandra Jennings; Sharon Garber and David Curwen, rehearsal directors (2002)
  • "3 Epitaphs," by Paul Taylor, staged by Mary Cochran; Nina Nelson, rehearsal director. (2002)*
  • "Junction," by Paul Taylor, staged by Mary Cochran; Nina Nelson, rehearsal director (2002)
  • "Giselle," Act II, by Jean Coralli and Jules Perrot, staged and directed by Sharon Garber (2003)
  • "Sing, Sing, Sing," by Gus Giordano, staged by Lizzie Mackenzie; Derrick A. Evans and Heather Vaughan, rehearsal directors (2003)
  • “Steps in the Street,” by Martha Graham, staged by Gary Galbraith; Trudy Cobb, rehearsal director (2004)
  • "Who Cares?," by George Balanchine, staged by Fiona Fuerstner; Sharon Garber, rehearsal director (2004)
  • "Suite Otis," choreographed and staged by George Faison; Derrick A. Evans, rehearsal director (2005)*
  • "Fire Dance," by Loïe Fuller, reconstructed and staged by Jessica Lindberg; Megan Slayter, rehearsal director (2006)
  • "The 40s," choreographed by Lou Conte, staged by Lou Conte and Claire Bataille; Natalie Marrone, rehearsal director (2006)
  • "How Long, Brethren?," by Helen Tamiris, recreated and staged by Dianne McIntyre; Carolyn Pavlik, rehearsal director (2006)
  • “Serenade,” by George Balanchine, reconstructed by Victoria Simon; Sharon Garber, rehearsal director (2006)
  • "Alleluia," choreographed by Robert Battle, staged by Robert Battle and Jennifer Mabus; Carolyn Pavlik, rehearsal director (2007)
  • "Strict Love," choreographed by Doug Varone, staged by Eddie Taketa; Carolyn Pavlik and Nina Nelson, rehearsal directors (2008)
  • "Dark Elegies," choreographed by Antony Tudor, staged by Willy Shives; Sharon Garber, rehearsal director (2008)
  • "Khamsin," premiere, choreographed and staged by Ron De Jesús; Carolyn Pavlik, rehearsal director (2009)
  • "Temporal Trance," choreographed and staged by Frank Chaves; Whitney Moncrief, rehearsal director (2009)
  • "Birthday Variations," choreographed by Gerald Arpino, staged by Willy Shives; Sharon Garber, rehearsal director (2010)
  • "Dance Sport," choreographed by Harrison McEldowney, staged and rehearsed by Whitney Moncrief (2010)
  • “Lily of the Nile,” by Loïe Fuller, reconstructed by Jessica Lindberg Coxe and Megan Slayter; Megan Slayter, rehearsal director (2010)
  • "Koto," finale section, choreographed by Alonzo King, staged by Arturo Fernandez; Sharon Garber, rehearsal director (2011)
  • "The Envelope," choreographed by David Parsons, staged by Jason McDole; Whitney Moncrief, rehearsal director (2011)
  • "Fandango," choreographed by Antony Tudor, staged by Amanda McKerrow and John Gardner; Sharon Garber, rehearsal director (2012)
  • "La Mer," choreographed by Loïe Fuller; reconstructed by Jessica Lindberg Coxe and Megan Slayter; Megan Slayter, rehearsal director (2012)
  • "Addio Amore," premiere, choreographed by Nelly Van Bommel; Whitney Moncrief, rehearsal director (2012)
    Great Works commission for WMU dance and DanceWorks Chicago through funding for the Student Investment Projects made possible by differential tuition.
  • "Foreground," premiere, choreographed by Lauren Edson; Carolyn Pavlik, rehearsal director (2012)*
    Great Works commission from the winner of the first Great Works Dance Project National Choreography Competition.
  • "Viva Vivaldi," choreographed by Gerald Arpino, staged by Willy Shives; Sharon Garber, rehearsal director (2013)
  • "Light and Landless," premiere, choreographed by KT Nelson; Whitney Moncrief, rehearsal director (2013)
    Great Works commission through funding for the Student Investment Projects made possible by differential tuition.

*"3 Epitaphs," "Suite Otis" and "Foreground" were invited to perform at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.