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"Stirrings" Connects Environment and Art

The Frostburg State University Cultural Events Series will present the world premiere of "Stirrings" with Pittsburgh's celebrated Dance Alloy on Friday and Saturday, April 4 and 5, at 8 p.m. and Sunday, April 6, at 3 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center's Drama Theatre. Arts Getaway Packages and Dinner Show Packages are available with all performances of "Stirrings," which is sponsored by the Downtown Cumberland Holiday Inn.

Commissioned by FSU's Cultural Events Series, "Stirrings" is an innovative dance work that unites the performers of Dance Alloy with artists and specialists from the diverse fields of music, visual arts, creative writing and environmental science in an exploration of natural wonders located nearby. Although "Stirrings" setting is local, its implications are global, serving as an "ecosystem" of the arts and environment.

This collaborative project draws its inspiration from "Stirring the Mud: On Swamps, Bogs and Human Imagination," a critically acclaimed collection of essays by FSU English professor Dr. Barbara Hurd. In her book, Hurd delves into two of her favorite haunts, Finzel Swamp and Cranesville Bog, to evoke poetic musings in her quest for what universal truths may be lurking in the muck and mire.

The recipient of a Fellowship in Creative Writing from the National Endowment of the Arts, Hurd was recently awarded a Wilson H. Elkins Professorship from the University System of Maryland. "Stirring the Mud" was chosen as one of the Best Books of 2001 by the L.A. Times. Mark Taylor, artistic director of Dance Alloy, choreographed the hour-long work to an original score of electronic music by New York composer and librettist Alice Shields. Both artists incorporate substantial segments of text from Hurd's book.

FSU scenic designers Richard Kagey and Conrad Maust of FSU's Department of Theatre, with lighting designer Barbara Thompson, have created a set that celebrates the ambiguity of where the dry land ends and the bog begins, and that same in-between area that is paralleled elsewhere in life.

As part of the multi-arts collaboration, the Cultural Events Series will offer an assortment of activities designed to support the groundbreaking production of this exciting commissioned work.

Among the other events are:

-- "Forum on Swamps," with scientific advisors Kevin Dodge and Dr. Katia Engelhardt on Monday, March 31, in the Appalachian Environmental Laboratory. Gain insight on the importance of swamps from both a biological and an ecological perspective. The forum includes images and sounds of the swamps as well as a tour of the greenhouse and a chance to handle swamp material. The tour is at 6:30 p.m., before the forum at 7 p.m. A reception will be held after the forum. Call (301) 689-7100 for information.

-- "Landscapes in the Impressionistic Style," an exhibition in the Stephanie Ann Roper Gallery by FSU fine arts graduate Tim Bell and his wife, Leah Bell. Their paintings will be on display from March 14 to April 7, with a reception on Tuesday, April 1, at 7 p.m.

-- "Connecting Movement and the Environment: An Interactive Seminar Exploring the Creation of 'Stirrings' with Artistic Director Mark Taylor," on Wednesday, April 2, at 7 p.m. in the Cordts PE Center Dance Studio. The choreographer will examine the creative foundation of the project by exploring the union between the natural environment and the dance movement. He will also share his experiences as a certified practitioner of Body-Mind Centering. Limited to 30 participants. Please call to reserve.

-- Lecture-Demonstration with Dance Alloy on Thursday, April 3, at 10:30 a.m. in the Performing Arts Center Drama Theatre. Area schoolchildren will visit FSU for a special "infor-mance" with the artists of Dance Alloy.

--Wilson H. Elkins Professorship Lecture Series with Barbara Hurd on Thursday, April 3, at 4 p.m. in the Cordts Center's Leake Room. Barbara Hurd, author of "Stirring the Mud: On Swamps, Bogs and Human Imagination," will discuss the sloppy convergence of art and nature that inspired her book.

-- "LIVE! at the Loft with Tom Wisner: Learn and Sing the Songs of the Chesapeake Waters," Thursday, April 3, at 7 p.m. in the Lane University Center Loft. The musician and environmental educator will present the story of the Chesapeake Bay with a multi-media presentation on "The Watershed: Land, Water, Life and the River." Sponsored by FSU's Center Stage.

-- School Outreach Activity: Tom Wisner Visits Northern Middle School on Friday, April 4. Wisner will present "The Watershed: Land, Water, Life and the River," an environmental activity focusing on the watershed that includes pictorials, interactive audience participation, song and music.

-- "Stirrings" Matinee and Lecture Demonstration for Area School Children: Friday April 4, at 10 a.m., PAC Drama Theatre. Students from Garrett County will be the first to view "Stirrings" in this special interactive presentation.

--"CHESTORY Exhibit with Tom Wisner in the PAC Lobby, Friday, April 4, at 7 p.m. Wisner will exhibit CHESTORY, the Center for the Chesapeake Story, in conjunction with the opening performance of "Stirrings."

-- "Meet the Artistic Team: Open Forum with Barbara Hurd, Mark Taylor, Alice Shields, Richard Kagey and Conrad Maust," Saturday, April 5, at 6:30 p.m. in the PAC Drama Theatre. The collaborators will examine the creative process in developing "Stirrings" and the collaborative relationships forged between the environment, music and dance. Educational outreach events are free to the public. For information, contact Susan Manger at (301) 687-3213 or

The Arts Getaway Package transforms your performance ticket into a delightful getaway for two, with a choice of accommodations at LaVale's Best Western Braddock Motor Inn or the Downtown Cumberland Holiday Inn. Included with one night's stay is breakfast and dinner for two, a special welcome gift at check-in, round-trip transportation between the hotel and FSU's Performing Arts Center and two preferred seating tickets for the CES performance of your choice.

The Dinner Show Package, available at seven area restaurants, can turn your evening into a special occasion. Participating restaurants include the Acropolis Restaurant & Lounge, El Canelo Mexican Restaurant, Gandalf's Restaurant & Pub, Gehauf's Restaurant, Giuseppe's Italian Restaurant, Harrigan's Restaurant and the Tombstone Café. Complimentary transportation is available. Reservations can be made up to two days before the performance date when purchasing performance tickets. Patrons pay the restaurant of choice after the completion of their meal.

For ticket prices and purchases, call or visit the CES Box Office, Monday through Friday, between 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Office is located at Frostburg State University in the Lane University Center, Room 235, and can be reached at (301) 687-3137 or toll-free at 1-(866) TIXX CES. Online ticketing powered by CyberSeats is available at the Frostburg State University's Cultural Events Series Web site at

Tickets for FSU students, faculty and staff are available at a discounted price with a valid FSU ID. All tickets not purchased in person will be charged a $1.00 per ticket handling fee. Payment by credit card (VISA, MasterCard, Discover and Bobcat Card), check and money order is accepted.

Based on availability, tickets may also be purchased at the PAC Drama Theatre box office one hour prior to curtain. All patrons must have a ticket and all sales are final. Please note: Those arriving late for performances may not be admitted until intermission.

Visit Frostburg State University's Cultural Events Series Web site at for more information on this performance and others.

"Stirrings" is supported by a grant from Pennsylvania Performing Arts on Tour, developed by the Vira I Heinz Endowment; the William Penn Foundation, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency; and The Pew Charitable Trusts; and administered by the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation.

This production is presented in partnership with the FSU Division of Performing Arts and FSU Department of Visual Arts.

The 2002-2003 CES Series is supported in part by a grant from the Maryland State Arts Council, an agency funded by the State of Maryland and the National Endowment for the Arts.

FSU is committed to making all of its programs, services and activities accessible to persons with disabilities. You may request accommodations through the ADA Compliance Office, (301) 687-4102, TDD (301) 687-7955.

Web Address for More Information:

For further information on this release, contact:

Office of News and Media Services
Frostburg State University
101 Braddock Road
Frostburg, MD  21532-2303

Telephone: 301-687-3171
Fax: 301-687-7589