Georgian Court Presents Critically Acclaimed “Diagnosis of a Faun”
Lakewood, N.J., Oct. 27, 2010—At times, dance does more than entertain. Georgian Court University’s Nov. 4 presentation of Diagnosis of a Faun, the critically acclaimed piece that has won the praise from experts in the arts and in medicine, is definitely one of those times.
The unique production, slated for Thursday at 6:30 p.m. in the historic Casino on GCU’s Lakewood campus, features Gregg Mozgala, an actor/dancer with cerebral palsy, in the featured role of the mythical half-goat, half-human who makes the leap from fantasy into the world of the medicine. The cast also includes performers Lucie Baker, Emily Pope-Blackman, and family physician Donald Kollisch, M.D.
Arts critics have described choreographer Tamar Rogoff as bold and “true to her fantastic vision” for her interpretation of Vaslav Nijinsky’s 1912 ballet, Afternoon of a Faun. Ms. Rogoff, a respected four-time recipient of grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, has been funded and commissioned by Dancing in the Streets, the Association of Performing Arts Presenters, the Rockefeller MAP Grant, the Trust for Mutual Understanding, the New York Foundation for the Arts, VSA arts, and the Guggenheim Foundation, among other organizations.
For Diagnosis of a Faun, Mr. Mozgala spent a year training with Ms. Rogoff as she developed and researched the medical layers associated with the piece. She also collaborated with Philip Bauman, the renowned orthopedic surgeon for the NYC Ballet and the American Ballet Theatre. The 65-minute production was commissioned by VSA arts and was part of the 2010 International VSA arts Festival at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. It was created in residence at the Baryshnikov Arts Center and at a residency made possible by DanceNOW (NYC)/Silo.
“For Tamar, this work is more than art,” says Silvana Cardell, director of GCU’s Department of Dance. “For her, it is a mission that she feels she is accomplishing.”
As a choreographer, Ms. Rogoff often approaches art in unconventional ways. Her work with Mr. Mozgala, who spent the majority of his life walking on his toes with his extremities turned in, is no exception. Through their work on Faun and countless hours of extraordinarily difficult training, the then 31-year-old dancer learned to walk with his feet flat on the ground and command new-found control of his own muscles.
Ms. Rogoff, a Guggenheim Fellow, is working on a documentary about training Mr. Mozgala for Diagnosis of a Faun. In the last year, their amazing story has been featured in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and on CBS Sunday Morning and ABC’s Good Morning America.
Blogger Evan Namerow of DancingPerfectlyFree.com called the presentation memorable, “not only because of the opportunity to watch an actor with cerebral palsy, Gregg Mozgala, move so beautifully and fluidly as the Faun, but also because of the creative way in which the piece conveyed the medical and emotional healing process.”
That’s one of the reasons GCU chose to present the dance, says Ms. Cardell, whose students will hear from Ms. Rogoff during a lecture presentation on Wednesday, Nov. 3 from 12:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. “We are also showcasing Diagnosis of a Faun because of its integrity and the way it teaches us that art can be used as a medium to reach a higher purpose. In this case, the work serves to improve a person’s quality of life. For the rest of us, it enhances our awareness of those with disabilities.”
Admission to the performance is free to members of the GCU community, $15 for the general public, and $10 for seniors and students with school ID. Reservations should be made through the GCU Office of Conferences and Special Events by calling 732.987.2263 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
MEDIA NOTE: Choreographer Tamar Rogoff can be reached directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Media assets, including high-resolution images and program details, are available through the GCU Office of Public Information at 732.987.2266.
Founded in 1908 and sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, Georgian Court University is a comprehensive university with a strong liberal arts core and a special concern for women. A forward-thinking university that supports diversity and academic excellence, Georgian Court serves nearly 3,000 students of all faiths and backgrounds in a residential Women's College and a coeducational University College with undergraduate and graduate programs. Georgian Court's main campus is located at 900 Lakewood Avenue, Lakewood, N.J., on the picturesque former George Jay Gould estate, now named a National Historic Landmark. Georgian Court also offers classes at its site at One Woodbridge Center in Woodbridge, at Coastal Communiversity in Wall, and at Cumberland County College in Vineland.
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