‘Contemporary Masters’ Reinvisions Master Works

"Lewitzky's dance style is demanding, but I love it. 'Satie Suite' is the most challenging dance I’ve had to learn—ever—in my entire life."

Contemporary Masters pix

Photo: Jeremy Hogan

Dancers in "Suite Satie" (back to front): Andranice Baxter, Christine Jones and Justin Zuschlag

Event Information

Contemporary Masters

Presented by IU’s Contemporary Dance Program and the department of Theatre and Drama, featuring works of Bella Lewitzky, Donald McKayle and David Parsons.


Ruth N. Halls Theatre

January 14 7:30, 15 3 pm and 7:30

IU Auditorium Box Office 855 1103

Laura Poole is restaging Bella Lewitzky’s Suite Satie for Indiana University’s Contemporary Dance Program. A onetime member of Bella Lewitsky’s Dance Company, Poole is also a former IU faculty member.

She has a variety of reasons for the project. “I wanted to bring Bella’s works to a larger audience. She passed away in 2004, and I wanted her repertory to live on and to reach people everywhere, especially here in the Midwest where I did my work. So with Nora Reynolds Daniel, her daughter, we decided that Suite Satie would be most appropriate to restage.”

The Challenge of ‘Lyricness’

“It’s a visually beautiful piece,” Poole goes on. “It’s a lyric piece. It’s easy to watch and to relate to, and the music is beautiful. For the students, the technique is very difficult. It requires a tremendous amount of core strength and an attention to space, to sculpting space. I think that [working on] it has added to their palate of abilities. Also, there’s a ‘lyricness’ about the piece that has challenged them as well.”

A Link To The Past

Laura Hunter is an IU senior who dances a solo in Suite Satie. Laura not only  had a chance to work with Laura Poole; she also had a week with Nora Reynolds Daniel.

“I think the week with Nora Reynolds Daniel was very helpful for us as students, because it gave us a direct link to Bella. We never knew Bella Lewitzky; we never trained with her. So having Nora as well as Laura here was very special and helpful to us.”

For this piece, the dancers had to learn a different style of movement altogether. Hunter explains, “The Lewitzky Technique was new. It’s different than ballet, jazz, or classical modern. There’s a lot of focus on core strength, and initiations are different as are intentions. The technique is demanding, but I love it. Satie Suite is the most challenging dance I’ve had to learn—ever—in my entire life”

It was a challenge for the students. “This piece was set for professional dancers,” Hunter says. “And not only were they professionals; they were in their thirties, and I’m twenty one—but it was very exciting and fun!”

George Walker

George Walker was born in Winchester, Virginia, and raised in Owl’s Head, Maine, and Valhalla, New York. After graduating from the University of Michigan, he came to Bloomington in 1966 and completed an M.A.T. degree in English at Indiana University. George began announcing for WFIU in 1967. Currently, along with regularly hosting classical music shows, he interviews artists in a wide variety of areas and reviews plays and operas. He’s the proud father of grown sons Ben Walker (and his wife Elise Katzif Walker) and Aaron Walker. In his time away from WFIU, George enjoys an active life with wife Carolyn Lipson-Walker, singing, reading, exercising and playing guitar.

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