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Homecoming to put spring in Ohio State dance department’s step

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“We’re really excited to be back in our building.”

You could even say they’re dancing with joy.

Susan Van Pelt Petry’s excitement is shared across Ohio State’s Department of Dance — where Van Pelt Petry serves as the chair — as the program steps back into Sullivant Hall this autumn. In fact, the festivities surrounding the reopening are one of the highlights of the department’s upcoming semester.

The building’s renovation project, which began in Autumn 2011 and was budgeted at about $30 million, created six new dance studios, the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library, a rotunda on the east side of the building and the Lawrence and Isabel Barnett Center for Integrated Arts and Enterprise.

Though the cartoon library opened in November and some classes were held in the building during the spring, the grand reopening, set for Sept. 20 and 21, will officially open all parts of Sullivant Hall.

That day, about 35 undergraduate and graduate dancers will collaborate with about 50 singers from OSU’s School of Music to perform 11 different events around Sullivant Hall in celebration of the completed renovation, Van Pelt Petry said.

Dancers in OSU's Department of Dance perform in various spaces within Sullivant Hall. Credit: Courtesy of Nick Fancher

Dancers in OSU’s Department of Dance perform at various spaces within Sullivant Hall.
Credit: Courtesy of Nick Fancher

“Not quite flash mobs, but (there will be) performances that are taking place when you go and see one thing, and you will walk down the hall, you see another thing,” Van Pelt Petry said. “(It’s) a little more like a museum-type of event, but with live performance.”

The work, commissioned by the college, was created and directed by award-winning and world-renowned choreographer Stephan Koplowitz — its title,“Sullivant’s Travels,” is a play on the 1941 comedy by Preston Sturges.

Besides its homecoming, the department is also set to hold its annual Dance Downtown concert at the Riffe Center, located at 77 S. High St., Nov. 14-15.

That performance is slated to consist of four pieces performed by undergraduates and graduates in OSU’s dance program. The performances cover a variety of genres, Van Pelt Petry said, and are choreographed by directors from OSU, New York and Denmark.

“One of the pieces is going to have contemporary dance combined with popping and locking and house dance music,” Van Pelt Petry said. “It’ll be a real huge variety. Those four dances will be very different from one another.”

Full schedules of the dance department’s fall events are available at dance.osu.edu.

This is the second of five stories The Lantern will run this week previewing the upcoming works of Ohio State’s arts programs. The series also includes film, theater, fine arts and music.

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