Pilobolus to Teach, Perform in Oxford

Pilobolus will perform at the Ford Center March 31 at 7:30 p.m.

Pilobolus will perform March 31 at the Ford Center.

The Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Mississippi welcomes renowned dance company Pilobolus for a Monday (March 30) performance as part of its Artist Series.

Seating for the 7:30 p.m. show starts at $28 for the mezzanine and balcony levels and $35.50 for orchestra and parterre. Tickets are available on the Ford Center website or at the UM Box Office inside the Ole Miss Student Union.

Pilobolus, founded in 1971 by Dartmouth College students, challenges perceptions of modern dance by forming diverse collaborations that break barriers. The company has toured to more than 64 countries over the last 42 years and has been seen by more than 500,000 people. It physically and intellectually engages audiences through performance and education.

“Pilobolus is a very exciting dance company,” said Norman Easterbrook, Ford Center director. “They are very different from a typical modern dance company. The way they view movement and music and their use of space is very unique. It truly challenges the audience see things differently.”

Besides performances, the dance company also educates through workshops, classes, residencies and children’s programming. The Pilobolus@Play program allows children and adults with various levels of dancing experience to learn about improve, movements and choreography and are also invited to watch a show.

A community workshop is set for 2 p.m. Saturday (March 28) at the Powerhouse Community Arts Center. Children attending the workshops and students are invited to a Kids Show at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday (March 31) at the Ford Center.

“We are thrilled to partner with Pilobolus for their Pilobolus@Play program,” said Kate Meacham, Ford Center marketing director. “It is great way to teach different audiences how dance and movement can be used examine themes and ideas found in daily life.”

Pilobolus is known around the world and has made appearances at the Academy Awards broadcast (2007), on “Oprah,” “Sesame Street,” “60 Minutes” and “Late Night with Conan O’Brien.” It was received prestigious honors including a Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Achievement in Cultural Programming and the Samuel H. Scripps American Dance Festival Award for Lifetime Achievement in Choreography.

‘American Cultural Icon’ John Waters to Perform One-Man Show on Campus



Acclaimed writer, director and photographer John Waters is bringing his one-man show “This Filthy World” to the University of Mississippi’s Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts for a March 28 performance.

Hosted by the university’s Sarah Isom Center for Women and Gender Studies, the student-inspired event is made possible by the support from the University Lecture Series, numerous campus entities and private donations. The 7 p.m. event is free, but tickets are required and are available at the UM Box Office inside the Ole Miss Student Union.

Waters has directed more than a dozen movies and is a noted photographer whose work has appeared in galleries worldwide. His is also the writer of many nonfiction books, and his most recent, “Carsick” (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2014), was a 2014 New York Times bestseller.

“John Waters has been a key figure in gender studies for decades,” said Jaime Harker, the Isom Center’s interim director. “His films paved the way for performers like RuPaul and with his casting of ‘big girl’ Ricki Lake in ‘Hairspray,’ he forged a path that, most recently, Lena Denham in (the HBO series) ‘Girls’ has trod. Look at recent popular culture manifestations of feminism, body size, gender and sexuality, and it is almost certain that John Waters did it first and did it better.”

In anticipation of the event, the Isom Center, Student Union and Division of Student Affairs are hosting a “Welcome to the World of John Waters Movie Night” beginning at 6 p.m. Tuesday (March 24) in the Turner Center Auditorium. “Hairspray” and “Serial Mom” will make up the double-feature. The evening also will feature a raffle of John Waters tickets with VIP seating, an autographed movie poster and copies of “Carsick.” This event is free.

“Bringing John Waters to our campus marks an important moment for the university community and our students,” said Theresa Starkey, assistant director and instructor of gender studies. “His body of creative work covers so much and his vision and influence seems limitless, embracing film, photography, sculpture and nonfiction. As an artist, Waters is always probing the boundaries of good taste. He embraces the complexities of American culture and social life and celebrates diversity and the outsider in the process.”

Bruce Levingston, New UM Friends Share ‘Words and Music’ at Ford Center

Chancellor's Honors College artist-in-residence leading all-star local line-up for March 27 show

Ross Bjork and Bruce Levingston

Ross Bjork and Bruce Levingston

OXFORD, Miss. – When acclaimed concert pianist and recording artist Bruce Levingston returns to the University of Mississippi’s Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts next Friday (March 27), he’ll be joined by an all-star line-up of campus celebrities.

“Music Noir: An Evening of Words and Music” begins at 7:30 p.m. Combining the melodies of classical composers with readings from both legendary and modern authors and poets, the program features UM faculty such as violinist Robert Riggs and singers Nancy Maria Balach, Jos Milton and Jaci Skoog. Readers include poet Beth Ann Fennelly, novelist Tom Franklin, journalist and author Curtis Wilkie and patron Patricia Lewis.

“This concert is really a concert about friendships, collaboration and inspiration,” Levingston said. “There is also a cool twist in that each piece is a little noir, about the night, so there will be pieces ranging from the haunting Dracula Suite of Philip Glass to nocturnes of Chopin.”

Ballerina Genevieve Fortner, founder and director of Oxford Ballet School, will perform, as well as star Ole Miss student-athletes Robert Nkemdiche, football; Jon Luke Watts, track and field; Taina Laporte, volleyball and track and field; and Forrest Gamble, golf. Special guests from the athletics world will be football Coach Hugh Freeze, Athletics Director Ross Bjork and Billy Chadwick, the former Rebels tennis coach.

“One of the pieces we will be performing will be the hilarious ‘Sports and Divertissements’ by Erik Satie,” Levingston said. “We think we have the perfect cast!”

Tickets range from $20 to $33 and can be purchased at the Central Ticket Office in the UM Student Union from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays.

While the event combines the music of Chopin, Satie, Debussy and Liszt with the words of great writers such as Verlaine, Hugo, Mann, Byron, Fennelly and Franklin, Levingston said the program is mostly about collaboration.

“As I’ve come to know each performer, I’ve learned so much from them,” he said. “Robert Nkemdiche is a tremendous reader and thinker and an incredibly sensitive and thoughtful human being. Ross Bjork is also just one of the greatest leaders here on campus and one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met.”

He voiced similar words of praise for the other cast members.

“Coach Freeze cares not only about his players, but about the impact he has on the lives of so many people outside his field,” Levingtson said. “Beth, Tom and Curtis are world-class writers and we are so blessed to have them at the university. The incredible musicians Robert, Nancy, Jos and Jaci are some of the finest I’ve ever performed with anywhere. Patty and Genevieve simply epitomize elegance.”

Balach, an associate professor of music, said she is looking forward to the evening’s performance.

“It is an absolute joy to work with someone who cares so passionately about music and creating a concert experience that is interesting and genuine,” she said. “We will be performing two gorgeous art songs with beautifully sincere texts: ‘Si mes vers avaient des ailes (If my verses had wings)’ by Venezuelan-born and naturalized French composer Reynaldo Hahn and ‘Goodbye, Goodbye World’ by American composer Lee Hoiby.”

Skoog, a graduate student in voice performance who studies with Balach, will join her and Levingtston for a third selection by Gioacchino Rossini.

Meeting and working with the students has been equally, if not more, transformative for Levingston.

“Fast-rising stars like Jon Luke Watts, who was just accepted for a year of study at Oxford University in England, Ty Laporte and Forest Gamble, both amazing leaders in their sports and brilliant, caring and powerful individuals, have changed my life,” he said. “Their spirits and passion for what they do inspire me in my own work and life.”

Laporte, a junior journalism major from Columbia, South Carolina, said Levingston has influenced her life as well.

“Meeting and watching Bruce play brought back why I love my sport,” Laporte said. “It’s an amazing thing to watch someone do something they love and see their love and passion for it. The way he plays is how I want people to see me when I play, to see my passion.”

The pianist thinks the evening will be one of most unique and entertaining evenings of classical music ever presented at the Ford Center.

“People can really inspire one another regardless of coming from different worlds and disciplines and places,” Levingston said. “I believe when the audience sees our performance, they will all share in this inspiration of friendship.”

For more information, visit http://www.fordcenter.org/event/bruce-levingston-and-friends-music-noir-an-evening-of-words-and-music/?instance_id=17285.

Fantasia Performance Postponed

Concert to be rescheduled at a later date

Fantasia ford center ole miss university of mississippi the color purple grammy award r&b pop black alumni reunion american idol ticket box office

Fantasia performance to be rescheduled due to icy road conditions.

OXFORD, Miss. – Due to the severity of the road conditions and in the interest of the safety of all those traveling, tonight’s FANTASiA concert sponsored by the University of Mississippi Black Alumni Association at the Gertrude C. Ford Center has been postponed.

A new date for the concert will be scheduled as soon as possible. Tickets to the tonight’s postponed performance will be honored at the rescheduled event or can be refunded through the UM Box Office at 662-915-7411.

Fantastic Fantasia Coming to Ford Center

'American Idol' and Grammy winner expected to wow her UM fans with March 5 show

Fantasia ford center ole miss university of mississippi the color purple grammy award r&b pop black alumni reunion american idol ticket box office

Fantasia will perform at the Ford Center on March 5 at 7:30 p.m. Photo courtesy of Fantasia.

OXFORD, Miss. – As University of Mississippi electrical engineering student Michael Simeon continues to rise on the popular “American Idol” competition show, former winner Fantasia Barrino is preparing to perform on the Ole Miss campus.

The Grammy-winning singer and third season winner of “American Idol” performs March 5 at the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets range from $75 to $100 for the general public, but a 25 percent discount is available. UM student tickets are $30.

Fantasia is renowned for her charismatic, energetic style onstage that is rooted in the traditions of gospel music. The North Carolina native takes her audiences to church even when she’s singing her own R&B/pop hits or those made famous by others. Add in some colorful costumes, lighting and stage moves and concert-goers get a memorable evening of entertainment.

“The American Idol who went on to become a best-selling recording artist and acclaimed Broadway star in the musical ‘The Color Purple’ will kick off the Black Alumni Reunion weekend in style with her 7:30 p.m. performance,” said Julian Gilner, assistant director of alumni affairs. “Knowing how Fantasia performs, it should be a fantastic show!”

To purchase tickets, go to http://olemissboxoffice.universitytickets.com/user_pages/event.asp?id=287 or call the UM Box Office at 662-915-7412. To buy online, users must create an account or log in to see the seating chart. At checkout, use the coupon code BAR2015 to receive a 25 percent discount.

Music of the South Concert Series Continues with Rory Block

Monday performance at the Ford Center blends traditional and new blues with folk stylings

Rory Block will perform at the Ford Center on February 23 at 7:30 p.m. Photo courtesy Rory Block.

Rory Block will perform at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 23 at the Ford Center. Photo courtesy Rory Block.

OXFORD, Miss. – Blues artist Rory Block performs Monday (Feb. 23) at the Studio Theatre of the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts as the Music of the South Concert Series continues at the University of Mississippi.

The 7:30 p.m. show is also sponsored by the UM Center for the Study of Southern Culture. General admission tickets are $25 each at the UM Box Office inside the Ole Miss Student Union or online at http://www.fordcenter.org.

“Rory Block brings a unique style to blues and folk music,” said Kate Meacham, Ford Center marketing director. “Her dedication to blues will delight our Mississippi audience.”

Block was born in New Jersey and spent her childhood in New York City, but has dedicated her life and career to not only preserving the Delta blues tradition, but delivering it to audiences in a new way. She combines traditional blues with an innovative new style, redefining the world of acoustic blues and folk music.

Block has been called “a living landmark” by Berkeley Express and “one of the greatest living acoustic blues artists” by Blues Revue. The New York Times said, “Her playing is perfect, her singing otherworldly as she wrestles with ghosts, shadows and legends.”

Bela Fleck and the Knights Perform Thursday at Ford Center

Show blends elements of classical, country, bluegrass, jazz and world music

knightsOXFORD, Miss. – Stretch your understanding of the banjo and what it can do Thursday evening (Feb. 5), when Bela Fleck and the Knights come to the University of Mississippi’s Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts for an evening of music that defies easy categorization.

The show starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $28 for the mezzanine and balcony and $35.50 for the orchestra level. Student tickets are $10. All are available at the UM Box Office in the Ole Miss Student Union.

Fleck, recipient of 14 Grammys and 30 nominations, is pushing the limits of classical music by adding influences from country, bluegrass, jazz and world music. He has been nominated for more different categories than anyone in Grammy history.

His orchestra, known as The Knights, engages listeners by using their roots in traditional classical music and adding a passion for new musical discovery.

“This is a performance that is sure to engage listeners of all types of music,” said Kate Meacham, Ford Center marketing director. “Bela Fleck’s award-winning talent will entertain everyone from music majors to community members.”

‘Anything Goes’ Wednesday at Ford Center

Broadway production features lively music, classic Porter tunes

ole miss anything goes theatre gertrude c. ford center for the preforming arts university of mississippi box office tony award

A performance of Tony Award-winning Broadway Musical Anything Goes will be held at the Ford Center Wednesday.

OXFORD, Miss. – The Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts continues its lineup of top-notch entertainment this spring, with the national Broadway tour of Tony Award-winning musical “Anything Goes” coming up Jan. 28.

The show begins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $55 for the balcony, $61 for the mezzanine and $66.50 for the orchestra level and are available at the UM Box Office, inside the Ole Miss Student Union.

The story follows the S.S. American as it sets sail, causing two unlikely couples to fall in love.

The performance features several of Cole Porter’s classic songs, including “I Get a Kick Out of You,” “You’re the Top” and “Anything Goes.”

The critically acclaimed performance has been called “a knockout” by The New York Times and “gorgeous and sparkling” by Entertainment Weekly.

“At the Ford Center, we strive to bring a variety of entertainment to the Ole Miss campus to enrich the lives of students and Oxford community members,” said Kate Meacham, Ford Center marketing director. “We are very excited about the performance of yet another Broadway show as part of our Ford Series and we know all in attendance will enjoy the show.”

Michael Eric Dyson to Deliver Keynote for UM Black History Month Event

Performances, film screenings and panel discussions also scheduled

Michael Eric Dyson

Photo courtesy Michael Eric Dyson

OXFORD, Miss. – Renowned author, educator and syndicated radio host Michael Eric Dyson is the featured speaker for University of Mississippi Black History Month observances in February.

Dyson, a sociology professor at Georgetown University, will deliver the keynote address at 6 p.m. Feb. 19 in Gertrude C. Ford Ballroom at the Inn at Ole Miss. Admission is free and open to the public.

“I had the opportunity to hear Dr. Dyson speak at an MLK Day celebration several years ago,” said Shawnboda Mead, director of the UM Center for Inclusion and Cross Cultural Engagement and coordinator of the events. “He is a dynamic and engaging speaker who offers a provocative and fresh perspective on issues of race, politics and popular culture. The opportunity to hear his powerful message and voice is one our community won’t want to miss.”

All members of the campus community are welcome to take part in the upcoming events.

“We look forward to the opportunity to learn, honor and celebrate the achievements of African-Americans throughout history,” Mead said.

The observance officially begins Feb. 3 with a noon Kick-Off Celebration in the Ole Miss Student Union lobby. Featured participants are Brandi Hephner LaBanc, UM vice chancellor for student affairs; Rosusan Bartee, professor of leadership and counselor education; and the UM Gospel Choir. Donald Cole, assistant to the chancellor for multicultural affairs, will present the 2015 Lift Every Voice Awards, which honor faculty and staff who have contributed to inclusion and diversity at the university. A reception follows.

Union Unplugged performances are scheduled for 12:15 p.m. Feb. 5, 10, 19 and 24. Entertainment will include the Gospel Choir on Feb. 19 and the Ole Miss African Drum and Dance Ensemble on Feb. 24.

Several film screenings are also scheduled. “Dear White People” shows at 5 p.m. Feb. 5 and again at 3 p.m. Feb. 8. Both screenings will be in the Turner Center auditorium. The satire on race relations at an Ivy League institution will be followed by a public discussion. On Feb. 7, a group of up to 30 UM students will travel to Memphis to see the Golden Globe-nominated feature film “Selma” and visit the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel.

A third film, “The New Black,” will be shown at 3 p.m. Feb. 12 in the Ole Miss Student Union Ballroom, Room 404.

The Luckyday Residential College dining hall will host a soul food luncheon from noon to 1:30 p.m. Feb. 17. Students will be able to use their meal plans and faculty and staff will be able to purchase lunch at the regular rate. Complimentary tickets will be awarded throughout the month to students, faculty and staff in attendance at Black History Month events.

The observance continues Feb. 26 with an “Are You Ready?” dialogue at 5 p.m. at a location to be announced. Co-sponsored by the CICCE and the African-American Male Initiative, the discussion will focus on “Telling Our Stories: Living While Black-The African-American Male Experience.” The events conclude at 7:30 that evening with the Black History Month Concert in the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts, sponsored by the UM Department of Music.

“The Center for Inclusion and Cross Cultural Engagement has worked to collaborate with other departments and student organizations to host Black History Month,” said Courtney Pearson, graduate assistant. “We have worked really hard to ensure that the events surrounding Black History Month are inclusive and engaging and are looking forward to interacting with those who come out.”

Dyson, who has taught at Chicago Theological Seminary, Brown University, the University of North Carolina and Columbia University, was the Ida B. Wells-Barnett University Professor at DePaul University. He received his bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Carson-Newman College, graduating magnum cum laude, and his master’s and doctoral degrees in religion from Princeton University. His commentary on American culture has landed him on the “Nightline,” “Charlie Rose,” “Good Morning America,” “Today” and “Oprah” shows. He also has been on every major National Public Radio show.

Dyson has written for numerous academic publications, including Cultural Critique, Cultural Studies, DePaul Law Review, The Leadership Quarterly, New Art Examiner, JAC: A Journal of Composition Theory, Transition, Social Text, Religion and Literature, Theology Today, Union Seminary Quarterly Review, Princeton Seminary Bulletin and Black Sacred Music. He has been hailed for both his intellectual acuity and rhetorical gifts. As the Chronicle of Higher Education said, “He can rivet classroom(s) and chapel(s) alike with his oratory.” He has been called “one of the youngest stars in the firmament of black intellectuals” and lauded as “one of the most important voices of his generation.”

His 1993 debut, “Reflecting Black: African-American Culture Criticism,” won the Gustavus Myers Center for Human Rights Award in 1994. Dyson’s critically acclaimed follow-up, 1994’s “Making Malcolm: The Myth and Meaning of Malcolm X,” was hailed as “a study that is as substantive and comprehensive as public criticism of such a figure can hope to be,” and was named Notable Book of 1994 by both The New York Times and The Philadelphia Inquirer.

He has also written for scores of mass publications, including The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Vibe magazine and Rolling Stone. Dyson has also been written about in Time, U.S. News and World Report, USA Today, Current Biography and the New Yorker, and he has been featured in Essence, The Village Voice and on the cover of the Chronicle of Higher Education. Dyson has lectured across the nation and throughout the world in countless colleges, universities and public auditoriums. He won the 1992 Award of Excellence for Magazines from the National Association of Black Journalists.

For more information about UM Black History Month events, visit http://inclusion.olemiss.edu/ or call the Center for Inclusion at Cross Cultural Engagement at 662-915-2191.

Mediaeval Baebes to Perform Dec. 9 at Ford Center

Show to feature familiar Christmas carols and traditional medieval songs

The Mediaeval Baebes will bring their unique performance to the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts on Dec. 9.

The Mediaeval Baebes will bring their unique performance to the Ford Center on Dec. 9.

OXFORD, Miss. – The beautiful and mysterious Mediaeval Baebes, a British ensemble of female musicians, will perform their arrangements of familiar Christmas carols Dec. 9 at the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts as part of their “Of Kings and Angels” concert series.

The show is at 7:30 p.m. Tickets, priced at $17 and $23 apiece, depending on seating, are available at the UM Box Office, located inside the Ole Miss Student Union, or by calling 662-915-7411.

In addition to singing Christmas classics and traditional medieval songs, the Mediaeval Baebes take texts from the time period and put them to original compositions using traditional medieval instruments. Those stories include tales of unrequited love, the inevitability of death and various misadventures.

When these pieces are sung in a variety of languages from Latin, Middle English, Medieval French and German to Cornish and Medieval Welsh, the time period is truly brought to life.

“The Mediaeval Baebes are highly skilled musicians and have learned to perform on traditional medieval instruments, allowing this style of music to be accessible to modern audiences,” said Kate Meacham, Ford Center marketing director. “We hope audiences in Oxford will take the opportunity to see such a unique performance.”