Dance faculty concert to present ‘Love, Death and Naked Turtles’

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The UNC Charlotte Department of Dance will present its annual faculty concert at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday, Sept. 14-15, in the Anne R. Belk Theater of the Robinson Hall for the Performing Arts. This year’s program “Love, Death, and Naked Turtles” features works by department faculty members Gretchen Alterowitz and E.E. Balcos.

Alterowitz will present two works on the program. “In the Periphery” is a contemporary ballet duet for two female dancers (UNC Charlotte alumni Melissa Word and Caroline Shomaker) that addresses contradiction and disconnection in the fragmenting of a relationship. The piece incorporates expansive solo movements, pointed gestural conversations and partnering in a nonlinear narrative that evokes an introspective mood, as the dancers shift between moments of contention and connection, attachment and withdrawal.

“Like a turtle without a shell, or crow’s feet” takes on the sometimes serious, frequently funny and always universal experience of bodies and psyches in pain. A collaboration by creators/performers Alterowitz; Alison Bory, assistant professor of dance at Davidson College; and Amanda Hamp, assistant professor of dance at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa; the work ruminates on the sensations of the body as it deteriorates, reinvigorates and reimagines its own possibilities.

Balcos has developed a long and productive collaboration with UNC Charlotte composer John Allemeier, and the faculty concert showcases two pieces that they have created. “Deep Water” is the second in a proposed series of three works based on North Carolina murder ballads. The first “Poor Ellen” premiered last fall.  Inspired by a 19th-century murder ballad, “Deep Water” tells the story of Naomi Wise, a young woman from Randolph County who was drowned by her lover in 1808. Allemeier’s score calls for timpani, piano and woodwinds; the choreography is for four dancers and will be performed by the members of Balcos’s professional company, E.E. Motion ( Balcos, Audrey Baran, Melissa Jesse and Katie Matter.

The second piece “Trinity” is a design-based work built from movement phrases that evolve into complex patterns that weave the three dancers (Baran, Jesse and Matter) together into a unified trinity. Allemeier’s music, “Motion Activated,” is scored for percussion ensemble.

Tickets for the faculty concert are $14 for adults, $9 for UNC Charlotte faculty/staff and seniors and $6 for all students and are available online at or by calling 704-687-1849. A buy-one-get-one-free offer is available by phone or at the Robinson Hall Box Office only.