Performance Audition Information

DancePlus Fall 2010Student Performance

Advanced students have the opportunity to appear in the work of faculty and guest choreographers in faculty concerts. In addition to the two faculty concerts included in the concert series, individual faculty members produce concerts of their own, as well as choreography for Opera Theater Rutgers and other campus venues. Faculty occasionally use student dancers in works produced off campus at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark and locations throughout New York City. A juried concert of student choreography and a BFA senior concert are produced each year. Numerous informal presentations of student work for guests and fellow students are a regular part of the program.

University DanceWorks

University DanceWorks (UDW), the touring student dance company of Mason Gross School of the Arts, was established in 1981 and includes advanced bachelor of fine arts candidates from the Department of Dance. Students learn the rigors and are exposed to the demands of being a part of a professional dance company. UDW dancers are hand-picked in the fall semester by its artistic director, Associate Professor Randy James, who has an international reputation as an exceptionally gifted master teacher and an emotionally evocative choreographer.

After a demanding, 14-week fall rehearsal period, UDW travels extensively throughout the spring semester in the New Jersey and New York metropolitan area. UDW presents formal concerts, lecture/demonstrations, and age-appropriate workshops for just about everyone, from kindergarten students to senior citizens. In addition to performing the choreography of the artistic director, UDW has been honored to work with internationally renowned guest choreographers such as David Parsons, Susan Marshall, Trisha Brown, and Doug Varone, among others. As a testament to the professionalism and superior skill of the dancers, UDW was the first college dance company in the United States that was privileged to perform the work of well-known choreographers Rennie Harris and Stephen Petronio. Exceptional student choreography is also chosen by the artistic director and is included within the UDW repertoire for spring touring.

The UDW spring touring is extensive and diverse in the range of populations it serves throughout New Jersey. In constant high demand, UDW performs every Thursday throughout the 14-week spring semester. UDW tours predominantly to New Jersey performing arts high schools as a recruitment tool for the Department of Dance. In addition to performances, high school students participate in master classes led by the artistic director. The UDW schedule of performances has also annually included educational institutions such as Fairleigh Dickinson University, Piscataway Regional Day School, and the Montessori Children’s School in Highland Park, plus community programs at the Monroe Senior Citizens Center and the Mountainview Correctional Facility in Annenberg. As a unit of The State University of New Jersey, UDW serves as a cultural ambassador to the state, communicating how dance shapes our society and contributes to our humanity.

UDW accolades:

“Our school provides specialized educational programs for students with multiple disabilities and with autism…it was great to observe our students’ smiling faces and enthusiastic audience participation while the performance was going on” –Toba Knobel, Principal, Piscataway Regional Day School

“A tremendous job making sure all the students were engaged in the activities, taking time to learn names, and even managing to get my ‘too cool to dance’ 9-year-old boys up and moving” – Judith Hutchinson, third-grade teacher, Grandview Elementary

“The troupe performed with much ability, style, and enthusiasm … (they) were able to connect with the audience in a way that was refreshing as well as artistic.” – Diana Soorikan, Cultural Arts Department, Fairleigh Dickinson University

“I was very impressed with your instruction. Rutgers is to be my first choice among universities … thank you for the great experience with the class; it made a lasting impression on me.” – Anna Carmody, BOCES, Long Island School of the Arts

“I wanted to extend my appreciation to you and your very talented dancers for the wonderful master class and concert that was presented. I especially enjoyed the direct interaction between your students and mine, and it proved to be very beneficial to their learning experience.” – Cristen Bottega, lead teacher, Mercer County Performing Arts High School


Besides the new work created by faculty, dances of special historic note are sometimes reconstructed in a modern dance repertory class. Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane’s Freedom of Information, Doris Humphrey's Water Study, Don Redlich’s Gybe, and Hanya Holms’ Homage to Mahler have been learned and performed by students in recent years.