Presenting “3”, an inaugural M.F.A. Dance Concert

A MFA Dance Concert

March 8, 9 at 8:00 p.m.
B. Iden Payne Theatre

The performances are free and open to the public.

About 3
Master of Fine Arts candidates, Ellen Bartel, Chell Parkins and Alvin Rangel, take the stage in the Department of Theatre and Dance’s inaugural M.F.A. dance concert March 8 and 9.

3 includes Ellen Bartel’s Watch The Gap, a site-inspired contemporary dance about New York’s Jamaica Queens train station. Using video and sounds from the station combined with original music by Adam Sultan, the performers movements translate the experience of train station to the stage. Lilith, a new work conceived and performed by Chell Parkins, is an intermedia dance theatre piece that takes place in the not so distant future. And, Alvin Rangel presents Tango Vesre, a dance expressing an evolution of male tango practice in Argentina through duets by Rangel and Alejandro Cervera.


Arts Review - The Austin Chronicle

"The work of these grad student dancemakers was as individual as it was thoughtful"

About the choreographers and their work

Ellen Bartel is a M.F.A. in dance graduate student at the University of Texas focusing on an analysis of her site-inspired dance titled Watch The Gap which is an examination of places of transition or transitional spaces.

Bartel graduated from the State University of New York at Potsdam in 1993 and relocated to Austin in 1994. In Austin she is known as a “dance rabble rouser.” From 1995 to 2001 she directed the improvisational dance group The Creeps. In 2000 Bartel founded Spank Dance Company which, after a decade of extensive self-producing, is now a non-profit arts organization. In 2008 the Austin Chronicle “Best of” poll dubbed her a “dance mobilizer” and a “dance phenomenon” for spearheading the Big Range Austin Dance Festival, the first contemporary dance festival in Austin since 2000.

She has created approximately seventy new dances and improvisational performances combined, and spearheaded the annual Dance Carousel, along with Big Range. Bartel has been mentioned in the Austin Chronicle's “Top Ten Dance Events and Best Choreography”, and in the Austin American-Statesman was named three years in the Fortunate 500 list of the top 500 “movers and shakers” in Austin.

Bartel’s Watch The Gap is a site-inspired contemporary dance about the Jamaica Queens train station in New York. Addressing Bartel’s interest in transitional spaces-places, the ensemble performs a combination of pedestrian and dance movements that describe how people move in the space. Using video and sounds from the station the staged performance remains in dialogue with the actual space however through original music by Adam Sultan and set design by Brandon Ariel, the dance becomes its own distinct expression of the Jamaica Queens Station. 

Chell Parkins is an M.F.A. dance candidate at the University of Texas at Austin. She received her B.A. with an emphasis in dance and acting from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, where she studied method acting with the Actor’s Studio of New York. In 1993, she began studying choreography under San Francisco based choreographer Joe Goode, who is well known for his incorporation of text with dance. She was inspired to move to San Francisco and begin creating multimedia work by establishing the dance company Brigid’s Daisy. While in San Francisco, she created two evening length works, which were featured at Joe Goode’s Bread and Butter Series and at the then new theatre venue Cell Space. She is currently investigating possible ways to interweave technology in dance performance.

Parkin’s Lilith is an intermedia dance theatre performance that takes place in the not so distant future. Conceived and performed by Parkins, Lilith is the culmination of three years of research into the tensional forces between embodied versus disembodied experiences in the choreographic process.

Alvin Rangel is an M.F.A. dance candidate at the University of Texas at Austin who began training in ballet and jazz in his native Puerto Rico. From 1997 and 2004, he performed with the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company (DCDC) in Ohio where he originated roles in works by Bill T. Jones, Bebe Miller, Dwight Rhoden, Donald McKayle, Ronald K. Brown, Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, and Kevin Ward. He also participated in a documentary film co-produced by PBS and American Dance Festival titled Free to Dance. Rangel has conducted master classes and workshops in the United States, Russia, Poland, Colombia, Argentina and Puerto Rico. His choreography has been performed by Ballet New England, Stivers School for the Arts, Andanza, Performing Arts School in San Juan, DCDC-2, and Episcopal High School. Rangel choreographed and co-created an outreach lecture demonstration program for DCDC that toured nationally to 27 cities as part of the Flight Project; which celebrated the 100th year of the first powered flight.

He holds a Bachelors in Education- English as Second Language Education (ESL). In Puerto Rico he taught, danced and choreographed for Andanza (2004-2006) Before moving to Austin, Alvin taught English as a Second Language (ESL) and Spanish in the Houston public schools and was guest artist with Ad Deum Dance Company. Alvin will be working in several choreographic projects with two companies: Dance Theatre X and Compañia Danza Siglo 21 from Puerto Rico.

Tango Vesre is a dance that expresses an evolution of male tango practice in Argentina through two duets, Parallel Tango by Alejandro Cervera and Alvin Rangel’s Bound Tango performed to live music by the Austin Piazzolla Quintet.  Each work offers a unique perspective about male partnerships in tango during the Buenos Aires of 1910 and 2010. Although the work is framed within the Argentinean Tango, the work puts into motion issues of power struggle, power negotiation, equality, marginalization, gender roles, sexual identity, acceptance, rejection and male dancing bodies. The work features the performances of Alvin Rangel, Ricardo Garcia and José L. Bustamante.

Photos Courtesy of Ellen Bartel, Chell Parkins and Alvin Rangel

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