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Dance offers free sneak preview of winter concert

Oct. 29, 2007

KALAMAZOO--The Western Michigan University Department of Dance will host an open rehearsal of Antony Tudor's "Dark Elegies," giving audiences an exclusive glimpse into what's in store for February's Winter Concert of Dance.

The rehearsal will be led by Willy Shives, assistant ballet master and lead dancer with the Joffrey Ballet, from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 8, in Dance Studio B of WMU's Dalton Center.

"Dark Elegies," which is considered by many to be a 20th-century masterpiece, is an emotionally charged ballet that depicts grief and mourning. The choreography combines classical ballet with a modern style, and is the first major work set to the music of Gustav Mahler.

A native of Edinburg, Texas, Shives is hailed by New York Times dance critic Anna Kisselgoff as an "astounding dancer." Much of his artistic development is rooted in traditions from the famed Ballet Russe generations and he has trained with a list of legendary figures including George Balanchine, Alexandra Danilova and Leon Danielian, among others. Shives joined the Joffrey Ballet in 1999 at the invitation of Founder and Artistic Director Gerald Arpino, and has performed leading roles in some of the world's most renowned theaters, including the Metropolitan Opera House in New York, Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, Kennedy Center Opera House in Washington, D.C., and Auditorium Theater in Chicago.

Shives received the 2005 Legacy Award, which celebrates and honors the accomplishments of individuals for excellence in lifetime contribution, artistic achievement, and outstanding service in the Texas dance community. He was named "Chicagoan of the Year" by the Chicago Tribune in 2003, and was recognized for his outstanding artistry by the Chicago Dance and Music Alliance the same year.

During his two-week residency at WMU, Shives will teach master classes and provide lectures to students.

Media contact: Nina Nelson, (269) 387-5833, nina.nelson@wmich.edu

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