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Professional Dancer Visits UWRF

By Lisa Stratton
Feb. 19, 2007--Twin Cities professional dancer and choreographer Eddie Oroyan visited the University of Wisconsin-River Falls Dance Theatre as Artist in Residence in December and January.

Oroyan instructed, auditioned, and selected the members of the UWRF Dance Theatre for their annual spring concert, to be held April 25-28 at 8 p.m. in the Davis Theatre of the Kleinpell Fine Arts Building.  

Oroyan trained at the Milwaukee Ballet School and teaches at the Zenon Dance Company and School in Minneapolis. He dances professionally with Carl Flink's Black Label Movement and the Shapiro & Smith Dance Company. A graduate of the UW-Stevens Point, Oroyan is a master's degree student in English education at the University of Minnesota.

For the annual concert, Oroyan created an original modern dance piece for select Dance Theatre members, "The Redemption of Cal Trask," a composition that gives homage to John Steinbeck's novel "East of Eden."  

"I'm focusing mainly on the theme of free will versus predisposed evil," says Oroyan. "In East of Eden, Cal Trask's mother is a monster and he finds these qualities in himself, but he discovers he has a choice. Steinbeck made the point that Cal Trask could choose good.   I have eight dancers in the piece and they are all Cal Trask."

Oroyan's latest creation falls in with his philosophy in life. "Most of my pieces deal with spirituality; it's what's most important to me.   But I also like to make pieces that can reach people wherever they are at, to make them human and accessible," says Oroyan.

Last year at this time he was dancing in "Anytown," a dance production at New York City's Joyce Theater featuring the songs of Bruce Springsteen. New York Times writer Jennifer Dunning singled out Oroyan for praise in her review of "Anytown," saying he "jumps like a flea."

A veteran choreographer, Oroyan says he came to UWRF unsure of what kind of dancers he would find. "I knew that UWRF didn't have a dance major so I came in without much expectation," says Oroyan.

A pleasant surprise awaited him. "I am more interested in dedicated dancers than [the] technical [aspect]. What makes dance interesting is dancers who will put their hearts into it. I've got a strong group, and I can see for myself why their instructor is so proud of them."  

The students found that working with the artist-in-residence was invigorating. "It was amazing and inspirational to watch a male dancer," says Blomberg, a senior from St. Paul, Minn. "There aren't a lot of them around here, and their movement is so different from women's. Eddie's modern dance was physically demanding, with big movements and a very masculine style."

Members of Dance Theatre selected as part of the residency are students Kurt Blomberg, St. Paul, Minn.; Penny Reinhold, Knapp, Wis.; Brittany Warren, Crystal, Minn.; Rana Kuebker, Hammond, Wis.; Crystal Hilsgen, Inver Grove Heights, Minn.; Allison Davitt, St. Paul, Minn.; Paul Fannin, Hortonville, Wis.; Danielle Tucker, Cottage Grove, Minn.; Sara Mickens,, St. Paul, Minn.; and Natsumi Kubo, Kagoshima, Japan.

After his residency at UWRF is finished, Oroyan will be performing in the Nautilus Music Theatre's production of "Carousel" at the Southern Theatre.

Oroyan will return to watch his piece being performed at the annual Dance Theatre spring concert in April.

"I will continue to come back and give the dancers notes until they perform in April," says Oroyan. "I am looking forward to the concert. I think it's turning out to be a good piece."


Last updated: Thursday, 22-Apr-2010 16:08:00 Central Daylight Time


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