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Jazz and Tap Odyssey at the Redfern

KEENE, N.H., 1/30/09 - Featuring some of the United States’ finest tap dancers, Off the Beaten Path: A Jazz and Tap Odyssey (JTO) will make its regional debut at Keene State College’s Redfern Arts Center on Brickyard Pond for two performances. There will be a full-length performance on Tuesday, February 24, at 7:30 p.m. and a performance for school children on Wednesday, February 25, at 10 a.m. After both performances, there will be a time for the audience to ask the performers questions.

Created by award-winning tap dancer and choreographer Drika Overton and noted jazz composer Paul Arslanian, along with world-renowned tap dancers Brenda Bufalino and Josh Hilberman, JTO weaves a journey inspired by the nature writings of Rachel Carson, pioneer of the modern environmental movement, into a celebration of her legacy.

Imagine the dynamic intensity of a coastal storm, the incredible beauty and stillness of a desert sunrise, the lush and vibrant splendor and sound of a rain forest, the endless variations of a roaring river or lapping waves, the harsh croak of the blue heron, or the yodeling cry of the loon. JTO presents an artist’s vision of our human connection to the natural world by weaving together music and dance from around the world through the arts of jazz music and tap dance. In addition to the collaborating partners, additional artists include highly accomplished musicians and dancers - a company of six dancers and a jazz quartet of piano, bass, drums, and woodwinds - joining forces to create a compelling journey of beauty and wonder.

By creating JTO, the artists have been given the opportunity to celebrate and share with New England audiences the unique American art forms of jazz and tap.

JTO was commissioned by Arts Presenters of Northern New England, New England Presenters, and the New England Foundation for the Arts, along with a consortium of performing arts presenting organizations from around New England. The Redfern Arts Center is one of seven locations - stretching from Castleton, Vermont, to Woodstock, Connecticut - where JTO will be performed.

The Redfern Arts Center was one of the principal commissioners of the project. William Menezes, the Redfern director, said that, “This will mark the fourth time the Redfern has commissioned a new work of art. It was the most satisfying experience I’ve had in recent memory. I was there from the very first, working with the artists, watching the project blossom, and raising the funds to support it, and to see it now as one of the largest tours of its kind is wonderful.”

The performances are sponsored by the Keene Sentinel, with additional funds coming from the New England Foundation for the Arts’ Expeditions Program, made possible with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) regional touring program and the American Masterpieces Initiative, with additional support from the six New England state art agencies.

Tickets are available through the Redfern box office (603-358-2168) or online at Ticket prices for the evening performance are $28 and $25 for the general public, $26 and $23 for seniors and KSC faculty and staff, $16 and $15 for youth 17 and younger, and $5 for KSC students with ID. Tickets for the special performance for school children are $7.

Tickets are also available for all of the Redfern’s Presenting Series events and for performances by the departments of Music and Theatre and Dance. Patrons can still purchase 20/20 memberships that enable them to receive a 20% discount for all Presenting Series performances.

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Keene, New Hampshire 03435