Choreographed by Zoë Knights, "Court Dance" is a group work for nine dancers that explores abstracted movements of sport.

The UNM Department of Theatre and Dance presents a faculty dance concert, ArtFacts, Friday, Feb. 22 through Sunday, March 3 at Rodey Theatre in the UNM Center for the Arts. Six performances are set, Friday, Feb. 22, Saturday, Feb. 23, Friday, March 1, and Saturday, March 2, at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 24, and Sunday, March 3, at 2 p.m. Tickets are $15 general admission, $12 for seniors and UNM faculty, and $10 for all students and UNM staff.

This spectacular dance concert features choreography by internationally acclaimed guest artists Mercedes Amaya, Zoë Knights, and Robert Battle as well as three new works by UNM's Donna Jewell and Vladimir Conde Reche. Erika Pujič, a founding member of Battle's original dance company will also perform one of his solo works.

Expect the unexpected in ArtFacts, a concert of innovative, inspiring, exhilarating dance.

Amaya was the first visiting artist as part of the recently inaugurated permanent visiting professor line for UNM's flamenco dance program. Establishment of the professorship allows UNM students to train each semester with internationally acclaimed flamenco artists. While in residence at UNM she set her work "Martinete" on the students at UNM for this concert. "Martinete" is one of the cantes jondos that were some of the first cantes of the flamenco vocabulary. Originally developed as work songs, themes of these powerful verses often describe the outcry of the spanish gypsies, and the inhumane conditions of their existence. The choreography uses percussive accompaniment of a rhythm depicting the tradition of the blacksmith and the pounding of the anvil as accompaniment for the soulful verses of cante.

In the "Amaya" style, the use of intricate rhythm creates a dramatic tension in the piece that is so essential to the interpretation of the martinete. Niece of the great flamenco dancer Carmen Amaya, daughter of Antonia Amaya and the singer "Chiquito de Triana", Amaya began her professional career in the 1980s and by the early 1990s built her own company, performing and presenting her original work in Latin America, The United States, Japan, Spain and around the world. In addition to her work as choreographer, dancer and director of a company, Amaya presides over a Center of training dedicated to forming flamenco artists. Amaya has a special vocation for teaching flamenco at all levels. Flamenco in Mexico has spread, thanks to Amaya's artistic talent and her ability to convey the true tradition of this art to thousands of people.

"Court Dance" is a group work for nine dancers choreographed by Zoë Knights, which explores the abstracted movements of sport. The movement material was developed in collaboration with all eleven dancers, and Lisa Nevada and Avalon Jay. Base movement material has been taken largely from film footage of the 2011 NBA Finals with some additional material inspired by UNM Lobos Women's Basketball Team. It isolates movements of team athletes and sculpts them into choreographic form. "Court Dance" removes such elements as competition and arena, in order to observe physical prowess outside the context of sport, as a dance of bodies dependent on and created through a group dynamic. Guest artist Knights said, "As a choreographer, I see great beauty in everyday movement, especially that which appears natural and yet virtuosic. Each movement has, in its inherent integrity, a profound beauty and ability to communicate. In this project I chose to work with sports movement as it has a distinct physicality which allows the dancers to immediately connect with the material, and yet be foreign enough to them to provide the abstraction I required."

Knights was in residence at UNM this past fall. She is a singular artist and performer who has carved a niche in the field of contemporary performance. Her distinctive creations are noted for their unity of sound, movement, lighting and design, inventions that produce transformative moments and mesmerizing synchronizations.

After graduating from David Atkins Dance Studios in Sydney with honors Knights, continued her training and choreographic development at the Salzburg Experimental Academy of Dance. In 2000, she received her diploma and began working as a performer in her own work, as well as with other choreographers, including Continuum/Brice Leroux, Martin Nachbar, Mia Lawrence, Krystina Lhotakova, Cabula6 und Lawine/Torren.

"Battleworks Etude" is part of American Dance Legacy Initiative's Repertory Etudes™ Collection, conceived and curated by Carolyn Adams and Julie Adams Strandberg. American Dance Legacy Initiative develops Repertory Etudes™ as short dances based on signature works of American choreographers, in this case Robert Battle, artistic director of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre based in New York City, assumed the role in July 2011 after being personally selected by Judith Jamison, making him only the third person to head the Company since it was founded in 1958.

In July and August, four UNM students traveled to New York to work with American Dance Legacy Initiative faculty including Erica Pujič, founding member of Battle's original dance company, Battleworks. Battle also worked directly with these UNM dancers on the "Battleworks Etude". Through this process, the four UNM dancers became part of the permanent archival record of the "Battleworks Etude," which will be made accessible by ADLI to students and professionals across the U.S. and beyond. The performance of the "Battleworks Etude" is the result of this extraordinary process.

With the support of CFA's Arts Learning Laboratory, Pujič is in residence at UNM for a week, working with students and graciously performing as soloist in this concert. Pujič was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, where she began her dance training at The School of Cleveland Ballet under the direction of Dennis Nahat. She received a bachelor of Fine Arts from The Juilliard School where she was the recipient of the Martha Hill Award.

Pujič was a founding member and rehearsal director for Battleworks Dance Company. She has been an integral part of the creation of many works for Battle and she has been dancing and setting his works for more than 20 years.

"Frost," a structured improvisation directed by Associate Professor Donna Jewell, in collaboration with Regina Carlow and members of the Dolce Suono chorus, has movement material by Lisa Nevada, Kelsey Paschich and Avalon Jay. With lyrical music by Randall Thompson set with poems by Robert Frost, this work investigates how individuals experience surrounding space and time as well as the landscape of relating to another human being. Jewell mapped out pathway, timing and intention for the dancers who make the movement choices in the moment they occur. According to Jewell, "Frost" is "about making a choice, exhibited in the lyrics of the famous poems by Frost and in the performers' spontaneous action as they respond to the music, the space and each other. The cast is deeply influenced by the vibrancy, nuance and phrasing of the music, a lush fabric woven by piano and the delicacy of the human voice."

ArtsFacts includes two new works by the concert's artistic director, Assistant Professor Vladimir Conde Reche. Set to the music of Henry Purcell, "Farewell at Dawn," is a reflection on subtly, from simple movements and gestures. The choreography explores the space and the dancers' inner qualities to connect performers and audiences, the idea is not to break the fourth wall but to bridge it instead. In describing his other piece NLN, Reche asked, "How would it feel to be aware of what you do and what others do around you in such a way that your actions would cast shadows, refract, reflect into others space and actions, their movements, which in a chain reaction effect would finally affect your own? This is the task that I exposed the dancers to in this new work. The result is an extremely physical, personal and unexpected work layered in many ways to bring back the primal ideal that there is nothing like now."

Tickets are available at the UNM Ticket Offices in the UNM Bookstore, Central and Cornell; or the Arena (The Pit), University and Avenida Caesar Chavez, or by calling 877-664-8661 or 505- 925-5858. More information is available by calling 505-277-4332 or visit Theatre.

Media Contact: Carolyn Gonzales (505) 277-5920; email: