In March, UT’s Dance Repertory Theatre wowed critics with its mixed-bill spring show, Catalyst. Today, the professional-caliber ensemble will makes its way to Washington, D.C. to perform one of their numbers—UT associate professor David Justin’s Oblivion’s Ink—at the prestigious John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
Tonight’s performance is part of the 15th National College Dance Festival, which highlights the best of the best in choreography and performance at the university level. UT’s Dance Repertory Theatre is one of 30 elite schools that were chosen to participate this year.
And the National College Dance Festival isn’t the only one recognizing UT’s dance talent. For their spring show Catalyst, the group—which is composed entirely of undergrads—became the first university group ever allowed to perform Israeli choreographer Ohad Naharin’s Minus 16, a challenging contemporary work, in its entirety.
The piece being performed in D.C. tonight, Oblivion’s Ink, is a modern ballet set to the music of jazz trumpeter Dave Douglas. The brainchild of Justin, a Department of Theatre and Dance faculty member, Oblivion’s Ink made its debut on the B. Iden Payne Theatre stage in March. Now, just two months later, it’s already moving into the big leagues.
When the group was featured in The Alcalde’s May|June issue, Justin raved about how the versatility and consistency of the Dance Repertory Theatre members enables them to both pioneer and recreate elements of the dance art form.
“Dance is not like a Shakespeare play,” he said. “In a play, the words are the same, but the production is different. In dance, the ideas and intentions behind them are passed down and recreated. That consistency is an art in itself.”
Members of UT’s Dance Repertory Theatre ensemble perform Oblivion’s Ink. From left: Cooper Neely, Victoria Mora, Ema Watanabe, Amanda Gladu, Courtney Mazeika. Photo by Jeff Heimsath.