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The Ben Munisteri Dance Projects will give a free “work in progress” showing of a new dance set to music by Stravinsky at the Williams Center for the Arts 8 p.m. today, followed by an open discussion with the audience about the creative process of making a dance.

The group worked on the dance during a creative residency at Lafayette Oct. 24-28 funded by Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. The dance will premiere at New York’s Dance Theater Workshop in February. Munisteri also met with Lafayette theater classes and led a master class for student dancers. In addition, he is serving a residency this month that includes master class presentations at Muhlenberg College and Lehigh Valley Charter School for the Performing Arts.

The dancers will perform Muse of Fire, Turbine Mines, and two of Munisteri’s newest dances, Thunderblood, set to a commissioned score by Evren Celimli, and Not Human, set to a clever mélange of musical sources including Debussy, Brian Eno, Poulenc, and animal sounds, 8 p.m. tomorrow at the Williams Center for the Arts.

Tickets are $18 for the public, $4 for faculty and staff, and free for students. They can be obtained by calling the box office at (610) 330-5009.

With broad influences ranging from club dance to ballet, the ensemble gives constant stimulation to the eye and mind for audiences eager to discover the latest hits from the New York dance world. The company was the breakout star in 2003 at Joyce Theater’s prestigious Altogether Different Festival, and this summer it headlined the season-opening gala at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival.

Choreography for Ben Munisteri Dance Projects is by Munisteri, Lisa Wheeler serves as associate artistic director, and lighting designs are by Kathy Kaufmann. Dancers include Wheeler, Eric Sean Fogel, Danica Holoviak, Hope Davis, and others.

“The choreography conveyed a sense of mounting urgency,” states a New York Times review. “The dancers often seemed caught up in an adventure in which they were propelled by a mysterious and inescapable kinetic force. His choreography is meticulously organized.”

“The choreography is beautifully evolved [and] riveting,” says Dance Magazine. “[It] sparks with a feeling of discovery.”

“[With] Ben Munisteri, … you get dancing with unusual punch,” notes Village Voice.

The recipient of two Bessie Awards last year, Ben Munisteri Dance Projects was founded in 1994 in New York City, and since then has been performing in venues internationally. In New York City, the company has performed at Joyce Theater, P.S. 122, Danspace Project at St. Mark’s Church, the Duke Theater on 42nd Street, Whitney Museum for American Art, Joyce SoHo, Central Park SummerStage, Celebrate Brooklyn, and World Financial Center. Beyond New York, the company has performed at venues including Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, Mass MoCA, Florida Dance Festival, Bennington College in Vermont, Columbia College in South Carolina, University of Kentucky, Drew University in New Jersey, International Tanzmesse in Dusseldorf, Germany, and many others.

This season, the company’s tour schedule includes performances at Montclair State College, Montclair, N.J.; Historic State Theater, Ithaca, N.Y.; St. Mary’s College, Winona, Minn.; Dance Theater Workshop, New York City; Marywood University, Scranton, Pa.; Contemporary Dance Theater, Cincinnati, Ohio; Alverno College, Milwaukee, Wisc.; and Montgomery Community College, Blue Bell, Pa.

A founding member of Doug Elkins Dance Company and current artist in residence at Dance Theater Workshop in New York City, Munisteri has created dances for Pennsylvania Dance Theater, Danceworks Performance Company (Milwaukee), Circle of Dance (New York), and other regional dance companies. He has received commissions and funding from Performance Space 122, the Kitchen, Central Park SummerStage, Danspace Project, Joyce Theater Foundation, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, Foundation for Contemporary Performance Art, Harkness Foundation for Dance, 92nd Street Y New Works in Dance Fund, Pentacle Help Desk, the Celebrate Brooklyn festival, and Whitney Museum. He has received five major grant awards from the Jerome Foundation for the creation of new works since 2000.

Munisteri has been a guest artist/teacher at Stephens College, Rutgers University, University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, University of California-Santa Cruz, Bates College, University of Southern Florida, South Carolina Dance Alliance, Florida Dance Festival, and Hofstra University. He guest teaches at Mark Morris Dance Group in Brooklyn.

He has been a featured speaker on panels convened by Dance USA, Joyce Theater Foundation, Jacob’s Pillow, Midwest Arts Conference, and New York City Parks Department. He is studying the use of Internet 2 broadcasts to create telematic concert dance and will author a paper and a book chapter on the subject next year.

The Ben Munisteri Dance Projects tour is supported in part by a grant from the National Dance Project of the New England Foundation for the Arts, with lead funding from National Endowment for the Arts and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. Additional funding is provided by Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Ford Foundation, as well as the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts Regional Touring Program.

The nationally recognized Performance Series at Lafayette attracts more than 10,000 people each season. It has been cited for performing excellence by the National Endowment for the Arts, National Dance Project, Chamber Music America, Lila Wallace Reader’s Digest Fund, Pennsylvania Arts and Humanities Councils, and Association of Performing Arts Presenters.

The 2005–2006 Performance Series is supported in part by gifts from Friends of the Williams Center for the Arts; by provisions of the Alan and Wendy Pesky Artist-in-Residence Program, the James Bradley Fund, and the Ed Brunswick Jazz Fund; and by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, Pennsylvania Performing Arts on Tour, the Dexter and Dorothy Baker Foundation, and New England Foundation for the Arts.

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