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Rioult Dance Company Mixes Modernity with Classical Composers

(Posted September 7, 2010)

Rioult Dance Co. will present a reimagined version of works by Baroque, Impressionist and modern composers at Juniata College at 7:30p.m., Friday, Sept. 17 in Rosenberger Auditorium in the Halbritter Center for the Performing Arts.

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Uniting the classic traditional training of ballet with the free-flowing movement of modern dance, Rioult, a modern dance company founded by a former principal dancer with the Martha Graham Dance Company, will present a reimagined version of works by Baroque, Impressionist and modern composers at Juniata College at 7:30p.m., Friday, Sept. 17 in Rosenberger Auditorium in the Halbritter Center for the Performing Arts.

For tickets and information about the Juniata College Presents series, please call (814) 641-JTIX (5849). General admission tickets for single performances are $20, except where otherwise noted. Single-show tickets for seniors over age 65 and children age 18 and under are $12. Juniata College students are admitted free with a student ID.

Rioult is a nine-person modern dance company founded by Pascal Rioult (pronounced rey-you), a former star dancer with the Martha Graham Dance Company. His choreographic style had been called "neo-modern," which in Rioult's case means that the dancers apply the traditional discipline and structure of dance works while pushing the envelope in a creative sense by incorporating daring musical accompaniment or less tradition-bound dances.

The company has created a body of work dedicated to specific composers. His Stravinsky Program created riotous, exciting dances to Igor Stravinsky works such as "Firebird" and "Black Diamond." The troupe also has created dances scored by the work of Maurice Ravel.

At Juniata, Rioult will perform "Wien," set to the score of Ravel's "La Valse." The dance depicts a society whirling rapidly out of control. Rioult also will perform "Bolero," a dance interpretation of Ravel's iconic classic composition. Rioult created a perpetual motion dance in morphing patterns that build in intensity in time with Ravel's music.

"(Rioult is) a natural storyteller who is increasingly and distinctively, merging buried narratives with pure dance."
Jennifer Dunning, dance critic, New York Times

The company also will perform "Les Noches," which uses Stravinsky's music to create an electrically sensual deconstruction of the marriage ritual. Also included on the program: "City," which is set to excerpts from Johann Sebastian Bach's "Well-Tempered Clavier."

As a dancer, Pascal Rioult has performed with dance companies directed by May O'Donnell and Paul Sansardo. With Martha Graham, he performed with Mikhail Barishnikov in "El Penitente," and was a featured dancer in two Graham television programs, "Martha Graham in Japan" and "Five Dances by Martha Graham at the Paris Opera."

As a choreographer, Pascal Rioult has written pieces performed by the Ballet du Nord in Roubaix, France, the Geneva Ballet in Switzerland, and the American Ballet Festival.

Anna Kisselgoff, dance critic for the New York Times, wrote "The increasing acclaim he has attracted on national tours has much to do with his assertive individuality." Another New York Times dance critic, Jennifer Dunning, said Rioult is, "a natural storyteller who is increasingly and distinctively, merging buried narratives with pure dance."

Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.