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Choreographer and dancer Molissa Fenley returns to Lafayette with new dances and intriguing collaborators — including a Lafayette student — for an 8 p.m. performance Friday, Nov. 3, at the Williams Center for the Arts.

Tickets cost $15 and may be ordered by calling the Williams Center box office, (610) 330-5009.

Fenley’s debut engagement at Lafayette was a memorable collaboration with Philip Glass in 1991, when she performed her popular dance, “Provenance Unknown.” Her upcoming visit will expand the evening into a dynamic range of multidisciplinary ventures, combining post-modern choreography with world music, sculpture, and poetry.

Most notable among her guests will be Senegal-born kora artist Foday Musa Suso, widely known in this country through his active touring schedule as a world music artist and award-winning recording projects with the Kronos Quartet and with Glass. The Grammy-winning Pieces of Africa recording by Kronos includes a Suso selection, and a Glass composition, The Screens, incorporated Suso’s compositional ideas, as well as his spirited performance skills.

Suso will also give an African drumming workshop at 6:30 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 2, in the David A. Portlock Black Cultural Center as part of Lafayette’s inaugural Riley Temple Performing and Visual Arts Festival focusing on African Americans in the arts.

Fenley’s program also involves the sculpture of Carol Hepper, whose exhibition of recent work Reverse Osmosis is on display in the Williams Center through Nov. 19. Hepper’s shimmering design elements and Fenley’s elegantly organic movement ideas blend together in architectural ways to make the dance, called “Island,” one of the choreographer’s most accomplished works. On the day of the performance, Hepper will give a free lecture at noon in Williams Center Room 108 and will be special guest at a reception from 6:30 to 8 p.m in the Williams Center.

The last of Fenley’s collaborations, “Ceremony,” is with Lafayette Rose Pilato, a junior from Redding, Conn. It draws upon the ecstatic writings of American poet Joy Harjo.

Fenley is a choreographer and performer whose works combine an eclectic background with astonishing physical energies to create a uniquely personal dance style. Born in Las Vegas in 1954, Fenley grew up in Nigeria, lived in Spain, and returned to the United States, where she received a degree in dance from Mills College in California in 1975. She moved to New York City and formed Molissa Fenley and Dancers in 1977. Fenley’s choreographic works for her company, known for their relentless energy and hard-edged crystalline surface, were commissioned by such venues as the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Festival, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, Dance Theater Workshop, and The Kitchen Center for Video, Music and Dance.

Since 1988, Fenley has concentrated on choreographing and performing highly personal, deeply felt solo works, which have been commissioned by the American Dance Festival, the Serious Fun Festival at Lincoln Center, The Dia Center for the Arts, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, The Kitchen Center for Video, Music and Dance and Dance Chance, Dance Theater Workshop, and The Joyce Theater. In addition to solo and group works created for her own company, Fenley has choreographed works for the Ohio Ballet, the Australian Dance Theater, and the Deutsche Oper Ballet of Berlin. Her work has been presented throughout the United States, Europe, Australia, Indonesia, and Asia. She frequently collaborates with artists of other disciplines, including composers Glass, Arvo Pärt, Laurie Anderson, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Somei Satoh, Peter Gordon, Henryk G6recki, Anthony Davis, Pauline Oliveros, and Robert Lloyd; and visual artists Richard Long, Tatsuo Miyajima, Francesco Clemente, and Kiki Smith. In recent years, Fenley has performed annual seasons at The Joyce Theater in New York City.

In 1985, Fenley founded the Momenta Foundation, a nonprofit organization formed to foster and cultivate appreciation for dance. Through the Momenta Foundation, Fenley’s work has been supported by numerous foundation, corporate, and government grants. Fenley has been awarded seven NEA Choreographer Fellowships, a Beard’s Fund Fellowship, a CAPS grant, and a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship. She was an artist-in-residence at the Harkness Ballet Foundation from 1984-86, and has been an artist-in-residence at the Dia Center for the Arts since 1986.

Fenley’s tour is part of the National Dance Project, with funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Fund. The 2000-2001 Performance Series at Lafayette is cosponsored, in part, by grants from the Pennsylvania Council on

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