(Posted January 26, 2009)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- The Ben Munisteri Dance Projects, a cutting-edge dance ensemble from New York City, will premiere at Juniata College "Afternoon of Siobhan," a piece developed during a dance residency at the college, at 7:30 p.m., Friday, Jan. 30 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.

"Afternoon of Siobhan" has been developed over time at several residencies at university and college campuses. In addition to the touring premiere, the group also will perform "Terra Nova," a 2007 work developed at Indiana University, in Bloomington, Ind.

Comprised of six dancers, the ensemble has toured internationally and across the country. Ben Munisteri, the founder of the group, combines bold musical choices and striking theatrical settings with rigorous modern dance.

Munisteri describes his style as creating dance collages that are spontaneous, yet witty mixes of music, ballet and modern styles. While the company has staged works to ethereal classical music, it also is just as likely to choreograph a dance to such tunes as "In-Na-Gadda-Da-Vida," by Iron Butterfly, film scores by Vangelis or an orchestration by Stravinsky.

A dance critic for The New Yorker called Munisteri's "Terra Nova," "lucid and ingenious, a bright brave new world of dance invention."

Munisteri founded the group in 1994 after establishing his dance career as a founding member of the Doug Elkins Dance Company. While performing with that company he started collaborating with Lisa Wheeler, now a member of the Munisteri group.

Lisa Wheeler is associate artistic director of the group and also performs with The Power Company, a modern dance company in South Carolina. She also is the host of a dance-fitness show on the Health Network.

Contact April Feagley at feaglea@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3131 for more information.