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Minnesota State University, Mankato

Minnesota State University, Mankato

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Fall Dance Concert Includes 5 Choreographers’ Works

Concert is dedicated to Minnesota State Mankato dance program founder Florence Cobb.

2013-12-16
Minnesota State University, Mankato Department of Theatre & Dance News Release, 11-22-2013

The Minnesota State University, Mankato Department of Theatre & Dance will present its Fall Dance Concert at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 6, and 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, in the Ted Paul Theatre of the Earley Center for Performing Arts. The concert is dedicated to Florence Cobb, founder of the Minnesota State Mankato Dance Program.

This concert will include pieces choreographed by faculty members Dr. Julie Kerr-Berry and Daniel Stark, as well as adjunct instructor Lynn Andrews. Interspersed are pieces by two senior Dance majors, Sydney Burch (BFA candidate) and Sophia Cecile Pimsler.

Kerr-Berry has two works. The first is called “War Story,” which is constructed as a collage of visceral images about war. The second is “Vessels,” in which six dancers interact and play three earthen vases to an original score composed by Dr. Timothy Berry. Andrews says this about her piece, “Wry Love,” which she created with her dancers: “ ‘Wry Love’ borrows and bends the symmetries of traditional square dancing to create a lively, asymmetrical celebration.

Student pieces were selected based on an adjudication earlier this semester. Dance senior Burch’s choreographer’s note for “Stuck” is simply this Edgar Allan Poe quote: “Even in the grave, all is not lost.” Pimsler has created “Veiled,” which includes a series of vignettes that explore the relationships between Sherpa guides and those that rely on them to conquer the mountain.

Tickets for the Fall Dance Concert are available online at MSUTheatre.com or MSUDance.com, or by calling or visiting the Theatre & Dance Box Office in the lobby of the Earley Center for Performing Arts between 4 & 6 p.m., Monday-Friday. Buying tickets in advance is recommended. Cost is $10 regular, $9 discounted and $8 for current Minnesota State Mankato students.

A Student Dance Showcase concert will be presented at 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec 8, in the Ted Paul Theatre. Tickets are $5 and available at the door (cash or check only, please).

Additional information about Florence Cobb:

Florence Cobb earned her B.S. at Lincoln University in Jefferson City, MO, in 1941. She attended graduate school at the University of Wisconsin, Madison and Tennessee State University, eventually earning her M.S. degree in Health and Physical Education in 1961. She taught Physical Education at schools in Florida, Ohio and Tennessee before coming to Minnesota State Mankato (then called Mankato State College) in 1968.

When she arrived in Mankato, she observed that students in rural Minnesota had very little exposure to the diversity of culture compared to urban areas. She sought to change that.

“We went whole hog, with concerts, theatre, dance and music,” Cobb said. Under her guidance, dance as an art and an academic endeavor flourished. She brought in many guest artists, and led workshops and taught classes that were open to the College’s students as well as local high school students and community members. Additionally, she advised and choreographed for the college’s already established dance group, Orchesis. She also led a dance trip to Europe in 1971. The attending students travelled by Volkswagen bus, staying in camping parks and learning about indigenous folk dances.

Her work promoting the art of dance culminated in the implementation of the Dance Education Minor, under the auspices of the Physical Education Department, in 1976. In a press release that same year, Cobb stated, “The new program is supportive of the trend toward greater consumption of the arts in our society and will provide an opportunity for students to develop their creative potential.” Cobb taught at the University for 22 years before retiring in 1990.

Most recently, Cobb received a special citation at the 2013 SAGE awards in October of that year honoring her contribution to the Minnesota dance community. She was introduced by Dr. Julie Kerr-Berry, Director of Dance at Minnesota State Mankato.

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