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Internationally Renowned Bill Evans Brings 'Dancing Man' to OWU Stage

December 24, 2003

[ Bill Evans Photo ] DELAWARE, OHIO -- Internationally renowned modern dance and rhythm tap artist Bill Evans returns to Central Ohio on Jan. 17 at 8 p.m. performing Reminiscences of a Dancing Man in Ohio Wesleyan University's Chappelear Drama Center as part of the OWU Performing Arts Series' 2003-2004 schedule.

Evans' performance will share his physical and verbal articulation and expressiveness through solo dances and stories, illustrated with slide projections, recounting highlights of his long and exciting career as an international dancer, choreographer and teacher.

The first half of the concert will include three of Evans' signature choreographies. Freddie the Freeloader is a rhythm tap blues to the music of Miles Davis; Albuquerque Love Song is a lyrical modern dance inspired by the beauty of the sunrise on New Mexico's Sandia Mountains; and Ritmos Calientes is a virtuosic percussive dance investigation of Latin rhythms to the music of Horace Silver.

The second half includes two works choreographed by Evans, one by his former teacher Matt Mattox, and another by Ohio native Fred Strickler. How to Name It is a fusion of rhythm tap and East Indian classical dance, choreographed after Evans returned from a solo concert tour in East India; Saintly Passion is a dance of grieving to an aria from Bach's St. Matthew Passion; Opus Jazz Loves Bach is Mattox's classic jazz suite to jazz improvisations on melodies by Bach; and Excursions is Strickler's brilliant rhythm tap visualization of Samuel Barber's piano work by the same name.

"Evans knows how to entertain, and he does so in such a distinct and personal way that by evening's end every fan should feel almost like a friend. ƒ He is quite simply a master of his craft, and if anything he gets better with age. He does it all and it is the kind of versatility that allows him to go it alone for an evening with such success," wrote Helen Forsberg in the Salt Lake Tribune.

Evans has choreographed more than 200 works for 63 professional dance companies throughout the world and has been awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship, 13 grants and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, and 70 other awards from public and private arts agencies in the United States and Canada. He was named Scholar/Artist of the Year by the National Dance Association in 1997 and was awarded the New Mexico Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts in 2001. He was awarded the Albuquerque Arts Alliance Bravo Award for Excellence in Dance in 1997 and 2003.

He has provided leadership for dance education and was the co-chair of the 2003 National Dance Educational Organization annual conference. Evans has served as Professor of Dance at the University of New Mexico since 1988, in addition to serving as the Artistic Director of the Bill Evans Dance Company (founded in 1975), the Bill Evans Summer Institute of Dance (founded in 1976), the Bill Evans Teachers' Intensive, and the New Mexico Tap Dance Festival (both founded in 1999).

Tickets for this show, and all Performing Arts Series productions, are $15 for general admission and $5 for Ohio Wesleyan students and can be purchased in advance by calling 740-368-3629.

The remaining Performing Arts Series event for 2003-2004 is The Tom Christensen Ensemble on March 23 in Gray Chapel at 8 p.m. Additional information can be found by calling 740-368-3629.