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Concerts close out SUNY Potsdam arts festival

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POTSDAM — Dance and drums signaled the end of SUNY Potsdam’s second Lougheed Festival of the Arts on Sunday.

The festival ran from April 24 to Sunday, with students, faculty and guest artists of all disciplines performing and displaying their work in a bevy of events.

The school brought prominent writers, sculptors, artists and performers from around the country to speak with students and showcase their talents.

Sunday’s concerts began at 2:30 p.m. with the annual Senior Choreography Concert in Satterlee Hall. Six senior dance majors worked together to choreograph works that would be performed by 45 of their fellow students.

“We’ve all been working really hard to put this together,” said Michael L. Remington, Phoenix, the student stage manager who organized the recital.

The students spent four months creating their dances. Katie E. Foulk, a student from London, England, choreographed four pieces, including one that juxtaposed the aggressive electronic beats of modern dubstep music with traditional Victorian dance.

“You have to keep being creative. As soon as you find the dance boring, you know the audience won’t be interested anymore,” she said.

Ashley N. Samons, Binghamton, choreographed one performance and danced in four others created by her fellow seniors.

“Of all the concerts that I’ve been part of, this was by far the best,” she said.

The festival ended with an African Drum and Dance Ensemble at the Crane School of Music. Two guest performers from Ghana joined the student and faculty performers in a traditional concert that blended percussion with singing and dance.

“It’s a total work of art. It involves a fusion, or synthesis, of many different elements,” said professor Julie E. Hunter, who organized the event.

The 20-member ensemble learned its parts by ear, in the traditional style, instead of relying on notation as is more common with modern music.

Drummer Martin K. Obeng and dancer Gertrude Maalisuo, both originally from Ghana, played and danced alongside SUNY Potsdam faculty members.

At the end of the show, the ensemble invited audience members to come on stage and dance along.

“It’s music that’s meant to be danced to,” Ms. Hunter said.

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