Arts & Culture

UK Dance to present ‘Rooted Forces’ Jan. 27-29

UK Dance's "Rooted Forces" run Jan.27-29, at Guignol Theatre.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 12, 2023)  The University of Kentucky Department of Theatre and Dance will present its annual dance concert, “Rooted Forces,” Jan. 27-29, in the Guignol Theatre. The program will feature new dances by faculty, guest artists and students.

Aligned with UK as a leading research university, the choreography for this year’s production is rooted in inquiry, exploration, risk-taking and creativity. Through an extraordinary breadth of multifaceted perspectives and creative processes, the concert is an eclectic mix of modern and contemporary dance. 

A new work, “Blueprints,” by UK Dance faculty member Laura Neese, in collaboration with the dancers, explores how embodied awareness of the living architecture of the human body informs how we move in the world and engage in community.

Kathy Luo, visiting lecturer of dance who recently moved to Kentucky from Arizona, has been working with the UK students on a new dance project “Unspoken Dialogue.” The work is situated in her immersive dance research to create emotional and physical proximity that challenges traditional theater settings by “breaking the fourth wall.”

Student choreographer Anna Benton is unsettled by the societal stigma surrounding anxiety, particularly regarding the assumption that victims of anxiety disorders can “just work through it.” As a young person learning to live with anxiety disorders, Benton seeks to debunk this assumption with her art, “My Head Lies,” which aims to illustrate the manifestation of anxiety’s debilitating nature in daily life, along with deconstructing the typically superficial, one dimensional depiction of mental health in concert dance culture.

Theresa Bautista, an instructor with the UK Department of Theatre and Dance, reimagines her 2013 work “Layers…and what’s in between” for the “Rooted Forces” Dance Concert. This lighthearted piece for six dancers looks at what we layer, how we layer, and what’s in between the layers.

Guest artists Russell Lepley and Fill Pellachi are queer dance artists who co-founded Flux + Flow Dance and Movement Center in Columbus, Ohio, to create an inclusive, joyful space for dance. Their work, “Lividly .2,” originally premiered in 2022 as a collaboration between FluxFlow Dance Project and Counterfeit Madison and was recreated through the lens of 14 performers from the UK Dance Program who explore the queer experience using dance, theater and the creative process.

“Rooted Forces” performances will take place in the Guignol Theatre located in the Fine Arts Building, at 465 Rose St. Performances are 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Jan. 27 and 28, and 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 29. Seating is reserved. Tickets are available by visiting the Singletary Center for the Arts at or by calling the box office at 859-257-4929. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students. 
Mask-wearing is optional for audience members at UK. If you or someone in your party are ill or displaying symptoms of COVID-19, we kindly ask that you refrain from attending to slow the spread of the disease. Thank you for attending responsibly. 

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.