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The Drexel Dance Ensemble gears up for their winter concert – Memento

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The Drexel Dance Ensemble, in the Antoinette Westphal College of Media Art and Design’s Department of Performing Arts, is thrilled to present their winter concert, Memento, on January 23, 24 and 25. Memento features the subject of keepsakes and the meaning behind collecting souvenirs and memories of the places that we visit and the people whom we meet.  This performance will feature 60 Drexel student dancers.

In addition to six student choreographers, the Drexel Dance Ensemble is excited to present four professional choreographers including Tania Isaac, Meredith Rainey, director of Carbon Dance Theater, and guest artists Toni Renee Johnson of Maverick Dance and Leah Stein of Leah Stein Dance Company.

Alumni Toni Renee Johnson ’02 is the Founder and Director of Maverick Dance, a dance company in New York City that focuses on social and outreach issues through storytelling and multi-media experiences.  She will present her work “Group Contempo,” focusing on the idea that highlighting individual talent pushes a community to perform better as a whole.  In addition, full-time visiting artist Leah Stein will present “Holding Time” a piece focused on the idea of how sounds are created in space.  This piece brings together group improvisation and a variety of human sounds for a multi-sensory experience.

The Drexel Dance Ensemble is a professional caliber dance company presenting two fully-produced concerts in the Mandell Theater each year, performing for more than 1000 people each season. Participation in the dance ensembles allows for the students of Drexel to connect to the artistic community, indulge in the creative process, and perhaps, expand their cultural scope.

Memento will be presented on January 23, 24 and 25 at 8:00 PM in the Mandell Theater at 33rd and Chestnut Streets.  Tickets are $10 general admission and $5 for students.  Tickets may be purchased in advance at http://www.danceboxoffice.com or by calling 215-895-ARTS.

For additional information, please visit the Drexel Dance website at http://www.drexel.edu/westphal/undergraduate/DANC/.

- Steven Weisz

Founder & Editor
While not a dancer himself, Weisz’s love for the arts and dance started as a child growing up in New York City. With parents, who were strong supporters of the arts and part of a community with an incredible array of notable artists in music, dance, theater and fine arts, Weisz’s access and affinity for the performing arts took root. Upon attending college in Philadelphia at the University of Pennsylvania in the mid 70’s, Weisz started performing as a puppeteer, magician, juggler and fire eater as a means of supplementing his income. This soon grew in to what became Rainbow Promotions Inc., one of the largest entertainment and special events producers in the region. It was here that he began to promote and book dance for major events throughout the city. Many of the dancers he worked with in the early days of his company are now major choreographers in Philadelphia. At the same time, Weisz’s interest in computers and the early developments of what is now known as the Internet, led him to also start another company, Delaware Valley On Line, which became one of the first regional ISPs. It was this combination of event production, internet development and event marketing that led him to examine the use of the internet as a means to promote the arts. Dance continued to be a major interest for Weisz and in 2005 he founded PhiladelphiaDANCE.org as a major online resource to promote dance in the city. It was soon after that the Dance Journal was also founded as a way to provide an outlet for writing on a range of topics that encompass the ever growing and emerging dance community in the region. Weisz continues to run both PhiladelphiaDANCE and The Dance Journal on purely a voluntary basis with no income derived from any of his projects. He is also the Artistic Director of Graffito Works, a unique platform for dancers and performing artists to create site-specific work and to make it readily accessible to the public.

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