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Legendary Dancers to Perform at Spring Honors Convocation

This year’s Spring Convocation for the University of Mississippi’s Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College will bring together three world-renowned artists for a preview performance of “Trio ConcertDance with Alessandra Ferri, Herman Cornejo and Bruce Levingston.”

The Artist Series special performance, co-sponsored by the Honors College and the USA International Ballet Competition, is set for 7:30 p.m. Feb. 23 at the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts. Alessandra Ferri, Italy’s prima ballerina assoluta, will perform with Herman Cornejo, Argentinian dancer and principal of American Ballet Theatre. UM Artist-in-Residence Bruce Levingston will join the pair on piano.

General admission tickets are $25. A limited number are available at the UM Box Office in the Ole Miss Student Union. Box Office hours are 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday.

“Ferri and Cornejo are both two of the most gifted and creative artists I have ever performed with and take dancing and music into a transcendentally spiritual and soul-searching realm,” Levingston said.

“We three share a deep love of beautiful music, and that shared understanding and passion has driven and molded our artistic choices. In all cases, it was the music that came first, and the music which told us what the dance should be.”

The three performers have called upon some of the world’s most celebrated choreographers to create dances for their collaboration, which previews at UM and moves to New York City for six more shows, Levingston said. The choreographers include Russell Maliphant of England, Stanton Welch of Australia, Demis Volpi of Argentina and Fang-Yi Sheu of Taiwan.


TRIO promo short version – www.afdance.org from INTERNATIONAL MUSIC AND ARTS on Vimeo.

Levingston, a native Mississippian and acclaimed concert pianist, has introduced artists such as filmmaker Ken Burns and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Ron Chernow to the university. Bringing “Trio ConcertDance” to UM further exemplifies Levingston’s passion to make the arts accessible to Ole Miss students and to Mississippi.

Levingston has added a new dimension to the Honors College experience, said Douglass Sullivan-Gonzalez, the college’s dean.

“Bruce Levingston has brought his nationally-renowned talent, verve and leadership to the SMBHC classroom and given us new life,” Sullivan-Gonzalez said. “His engaging one-on-one interaction with students and staff, his commanding skills as a classical pianist and his gracious presence transformed our campus immediately.

“Honors students, through Bruce’s great work, get the chance to engage the internationally renowned prima ballerina Alessandra Ferri and Herman Cornejo with our Spring Convocation, and we all will witness the power of ‘lived art’ through their performance. What an opportunity.”

Ferri, born in Milan, trained at the school of the Teatro alla Scala opera house and attended the Royal Ballet School in London. Winner of the prestigious Prix de Lausanne in 1980, she joined the Royal Ballet in the same year and was soon made a principal dancer with the company.

In 1985, she was invited by Mikhail Baryshnikov to join American Ballet Theatre, where she danced as a principal until 2007. She has received numerous international awards, including the Sir Lawrence Oliver Award, the Dance Magazine Award and the Benois de la Danse Prix. She was presented the Cavaliere della Republica Honoris by the President of the Italian Republic Carlo Azelglio Ciampi and holds the rare title of prima ballerina assoluta.

“I am so looking forward to sharing once again the experience of performing with Bruce Levingston and Herman Cornejo, two artists that are able to always touch my heart,” Ferri said. “I have never been to Oxford and can’t wait to meet a new audience.”

Cornejo, a native of Argentina, began his training at Teatro Colon’s Instituto Superior de Arte in Buenos Aires and continued his studies at the School of American Ballet in New York. He performed as a guest artist with numerous ballet companies across the world and in 1997 won the Gold Medal at the VIII International Dance Competition in Moscow.

He joined the American Ballet Theater in 1999 and was promoted to principal dancer in 2003. Considered one of the world’s greatest dancers, he has received many awards and distinctions, including Dancer of the Year by The New York Times, Benois del la Danse Prize and the Argentinian Pride Award by the Argentinian Performance League.

“I am very excited to perform for the first time in Mississippi at the university in Oxford with one of the greatest ballerinas, Alessandra Ferri, and one of the greatest concert pianists, Bruce Levingston,” Cornejo said.

Courtesy of Kelley Norris and the Ole Miss News Desk

Adam Brown
Adam Brown
Sports Editor

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