LEWISTON — Early next month, Bates College dancers will give two performances of widely diverse repertoire, including the influential masterwork “Tensile Involvement” by Alwin Nikolais.

Featuring the Bates Dance Company, student dance clubs and faculty performers, these performances on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 6-7, the college’s parents and family weekend, are open to the public at no cost. 

A pioneering choreographer, Nikolais championed nonrepresentational dance. He was known for a multimedia approach that, similar to opera, was intended to bring all aspects of the performing arts to the audience.

He choreographed “Tensile Involvement,” his best-known work, in 1953. He also designed the set, costumes and lighting, and composed the music. The piece launches the dancers into interactions with giant ribbons that transform the stage into a dynamic matrix of color, sound and motion.

The most recent performance of the piece by Bates dancers was in 2004. 

Also on the program is a work by hip-hop choreographer Robin Sanders of Memphis, Tenn. Guest choreographer for a springtime course that took Bates dancers into local public schools, Sanders “was such a hit that we have brought her back for our core creative process course, Dance Repertory Performance,” said Bates dance program director Carol Dilley.

The two performances will also feature dances choreographed by Dilley, faculty member Debi Irons and student choreographers; Balinese dance by guest artist Shoka Yamamuro; and dances by student clubs, the Dynasty Step Team, Ballroom Dance Society and liturgical dance troupe Justified.

Performances will be at noon Oct. 6-7 at the college’s Schaeffer Theatre, 305 College St. For more information, call 786-8294.

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