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Newcomb Dance Co. Celebrates 25 Years

March 10, 2010 11:15 AM
Alicia Duplessis Jasmin aduples@tulane.edu

The Newcomb Dance Company will commemorate its 25th anniversary with "An Evening of Dance" beginning Friday (March 12) at Dixon Auditorium on the uptown campus. Performances not only will salute an important figure in the company's development, but also raise funds to provide relief to sister programs in earthquake-stricken Haiti.


Student performers showcase their skills during last year's dance concert. (Photos by Marty Sachs)

The annual concert this year will feature tributes to the late Minnette Starts, who taught dance and was a founding member of the original Newcomb Dance Club that formed in 1940. In her memory, the company will perform classical ballet variations from Giselle, Sleeping Beauty and Don Quixote, staged by artistic director Alice Pascal-Escher. The event also will include many styles of contemporary dance, as well as choreography comprising dance, art, photography and poetry.

"We haven't presented classical ballet variations in about 15 years, but we're performing them for Minnette," says Pascal-Escher. "Minnette was a graduate of Newcomb College and later a professor in the '70s and '80s. She was part of the Newcomb physical education faculty in which she was the only ballet teacher for a couple of decades."

An outgrowth of the Newcomb Dance Club, the Newcomb Dance Company was formed in 1984.

At each performance, donations will be accepted to assist in the recovery of Ecole Nationale des Arts and Ballet Folklorique Tamboula d'Haiti. Both are located in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and were severely affected by the disastrous January earthquake.

Both Haitian schools have ties to the Department of Theatre and Dance. Associate professor Beverly Trask and adjunct professor Monique Moss have previously studied at Ecole Nationale des Arts, and Peniel Guerrier, artistic director of Ballet Folklorique Tamboula d'Haiti, has taught several classes during the annual New Orleans Dance Festival at Tulane.

There will be three performances of the program: Friday (March 12) and Saturday (March 13) at 8 p.m. and Sunday (March 14) at 2 p.m. Tickets can be reserved by calling 504-865-5106 and will be available for purchase at the door. General admission is $12. Tulane faculty and staff pay $9 and student tickets are available for $7.50.