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UVU Dance, Music And Theater To Undertake Full Production Of Stravinsky’s ‘The Soldier’s Tale’ For One Night

27 September 2013 No Comment

September 27, 2013

For Immediate Release

University Marketing & Communications: Whitney Wilkinson

Written by: Heather Wrigley

Two years of collaboration between UVU students, faculty and community members with backgrounds ranging from dance to music to theater will finally culminate in an exciting multimedia presentation of Igor Stravinsky’s “The Soldier’s Tale” on Sept. 30.

“This will be a production not to be missed,” said Traci Hainsworth, UVU School of the Arts event manager. “’The Soldier’s Tale’ is a very complex production because of the extremely technically difficult music, that is then paired with acting, narration and dance. It will showcase the best of UVU’s talented and skilled faculty and students from our dance, theater and music departments.”

The mash-up of neo-classic and avant-garde styles will set the stage for UVU faculty and guest artists to weave a story of greed and love, the tale of a wild tale of a solider who trades his fiddle to the devil for a book that predicts the future of the economy and leads to untold wealth. Along the way, though, the soldier realizes his mistake and must fight the devil to undo his mistake.

Douglas Smith, UVU assistant professor of percussion, spearheaded UVU’s decision to undertake a full-scale production of “The Soldier’s Tale” beginning in 2011. Acquiring grant money, casting roles, finding musicians and creating costumes all took time.

Smith knew the difficult nature of the piece and how challenging it was going to be to do it, and do it well. He chose “The Soldier’s Tale” because he wanted to highlight some of the extraordinarily skilled faculty in the School of the Arts at UVU.

The three actors — narrator, devil and soldier — all come from the UVU School of the Arts, as do the majority of the musicians and dancers. Conductor Cheung Chau, director of orchestral studies at UVU, will unite the seven musicians who will bring Stravinsky’s masterpiece to work.

The music and narration will follow the original Stravinsky production — scored for a septet of a violin, bassoon, clarinet, trumpet, trombone, double bass and percussion, but the choreography is all original, from UVU associate professor of dance Doris Trujillo.

“Many times, people will see a concert with just the music from this production — none of the acting or narration,” said UVU Music Department Chair Donna Fairbanks, who will portray the devil through her performance on the violin. “I hope the community takes advantage to see this production, because a full-scale version of this piece isn’t done frequently. It’s a brilliant piece of music, and it’s so complex on so many levels, but I think it will really showcase the talent we have here at UVU.”

Trujillo’s all-new choreography will appear during the second half of the production. The show has been double cast, meaning the characters are portrayed at times by faculty from the theater department and at times by dancers. Two members of UVU’s Utah Regional Ballet and two adjunct faculty members from UVU’s Dance Department will carry out the energetic dance sequences.

“The choreography is a fusion of both ballet and contemporary dance,” Trujillo explained. “I have very gifted dancers that elevate the choreography and bring it to life, and I believe it speaks to the soul, to human nature. It has been wonderful and exciting to work with such an intricate, sophisticated score and find the movement that speaks to the era of the piece and also speaks to the characters in a unique and inventive way.”

Because the production requires collaboration between several different departments in UVU’s School of the Arts, putting on a dress rehearsal has been difficult. Saturday will be the first time all the different elements of the production will come together to rehearse “The Soldier’s Tale” in full.

This one-night-only event begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Grande Ballroom of the Sorensen Student Center. Visit uvu.edu/arts for more information or to order tickets.

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