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inspireDANCE to feature renowned choreographer Jane Comfort and Company

December 23, 2015
four women posing as Barbie dolls

A variety of dance performances, workshops, and master classes will take center stage at the University of Rochester on Wednesday, Jan. 27 through Monday, Feb. 1 as part of this year’s annual inspireDANCE festival. The six-day celebration of dance, which is open to the public, will feature 35 classes taught by guest artists and faculty, including award–winning choreographer, Jane Comfort.

On Friday, Jan 29, Jane Comfort and Company will present Beauty, a provocative dance/theater work, which explores the American notion of female beauty through the lens of Barbie™. The performance will take place in Strong Auditorium on the University’s River campus and will be followed by a panel discussion with Comfort and University faculty about the cultural pressures surrounding women today in terms of body image and appearance.

“I’ve been interested for years in Jane’s work and the way that it connects to so many different fields of study,” said Missy Pfohl Smith, director of the Program of Dance and Movement. “Her work embodies the ways in which dance and art can be used to reflect and comment on society.”

Since 1979, Comfort has received many achievements as a choreographer, writer, and director for her issue-oriented works that use text and movement. Her accolades include a Guggenheim Fellowship for the creation of Beauty, and 15 NEA fellowships and grants.

In addition to her Friday performance, Comfort will offer three master classes, open to University students and the public, on both the University’s River Campus and the Eastman School of Music. Other festival activities include workshops in contemporary dance, ballet, hip-hop, breakdancing, yoga, Middle Eastern dance, and more. Featured performances include a student kickoff concert and an inspireJAM hip-hop dance battle.

Launched in 2011 by Arielle Friedlander ‘11 as a part of her Kauffman Entrepreneurial Year project, the festival was created to give members of the community a chance to learn, teach, and perform alongside faculty and students at the University of Rochester. Over the past six years, the Program of Dance and Movement expanded the reach of the festival, including the participation of hundreds of Rochester-area high school students. The festival is co-sponsored by the University’s Humanities Project.

All-inclusive advance festival tickets (including workshops and performances) are $18 for university students and the general public, and available at the Common Market in Wilson Commons on the University’s River Campus. For Comfort’s performance only, tickets are $5 for students and $15 for the general public. For ticket and registration inquiries or more information, call 585.273.5150, email, or visit for a complete schedule of events.

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Category: The Arts