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Aerial Rhythm On The High Seas

By Michael Jones, The College Letter
March 28, 2007

Gay Nardone, associate professor of Theatre and Dance, has taken her passion for dance to new heights—literally.

This spring, the former Radio City Rockette and June Taylor Dancer will bring “Pirates” to the Johnson Theatre stage. And, as befits any swashbuckler worth her salt, Nardone’s dancers will “fly the sail, climb the mast, and dance the waves” in a journey that follows the world’s most notorious women pirates—Ann Bonny of Ireland, Mary Read of England, Ching Shih of the China Seas, and the Swede Alvida of Gotland’s Isle.

Described as a “high flying, seafaring adventure,” Pirates combines the cultural music and dance of the pirates’ native lands expressed through tap and jazz. And, paying homage to “Cirque de Soleil” and many other Broadway shows of late, Nardone’s production will feature aerialists dancing on sails and rigging high above the stage.

In a recent Chronicle profile on New Hampshire’s ABC affiliate WMUR—TV9, Nardone discussed her long career in dance and higher education, noting that she finds inspiration in everything and everyone. “Everyone has something to give me,” she says of her student dancers.

Jonathan Peiffer ’05 was one inspired student who gave it his all in collaborating with Nardone in the 2005 production of “Wild Things”—a performance where “music, dance, aerial arts, tap, jazz, Cuban, and African rhythms all blended together perfectly” and Nardone’s choreography moved seamlessly from tribal circles to chorus lines to jitterbuggers—often floating and twirling above dancers and musicians alike.

Nardone delights in the possibilities of aerial dance and remembers when she began to look up—a performance where she took her tap dancing out onto the apron of the stage—where the sound was good. “Out on the apron, I started looking around and I asked myself, ‘Where else can I go?’ The answer was…up.”

“Pirates” will share the bill with “Les Sylphides,” a romantic ballet staged by Professor C. Laurence Robertson with choreography by Michael Fokine and music by Chopin. Performances run March 28 through April 1.

To order tickets: call 2-2290, online at www.unhmub.com/ticket.

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