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Murphy Payne to bring aerial dance to Panola College

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Copyright Photo by Earl McGehee

Copyright Photo by Earl McGehee

Earl J McGehee

Earl J McGehee

Copyright Photo by Earl McGehee

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Panola College will host an outdoor aerial dance performance as the B.F. and Mary Payne Fund for the Preservation of Texas Culture event for 2018. Set for 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 24, the performance features dancers with Blue Lapis Light of Austin.

The public is invited to bring blankets and lawn chairs to enjoy the free outdoor event.

The costumed dancers, wearing harnesses, will perform dance and acrobatic movements across the face of the Charles C. Matthews Foundation Student Center. Music and special light effects will enhance the performance. Entitled “Twilight,” the site specific aerial dance is designed especially for the campus structure. Artistic Director Sally Jacques said, “The architecture of the building collaborates with the concept of the piece. Twilight is a time that transitions day into night, as the moon begins to rise and the sun slowly sets, there emerges a sense of timeless beauty and wonder.”

Throughout the choreography, dancers touch on the theme of twilight through aerial dance, gestures and coordinated acrobatic movements.

“Aerial dance is art that literally takes place in the air,” Jacques explained. Blue Lapis Light specializes in aerial silks (similar to those used in the aerial yoga classes at Panola College), Spanish web and harnesses. Spanish web movements involve the performer spinning, suspended, on an aerial rope. Each technique requires extensive training to gain strength and beauty in movement, while maintaining awareness of personal safety.

The 2018 Murphy Payne event marks 16 years that the B.F. and Mary Payne Fund for the Preservation of Texas Culture has funded artistic performances at Panola College. This year’s Blue Lapis Light show links back to the first Murphy Payne event in 2002 – “Coming in on a Wing and a Prayer,” which featured the music of World War II, performed by the Sounds of Swing, and a lecture by the late Dr. Archie McDonald.

Foster and Mary Frances Payne Murphy established the B.F. and Mary Payne Fund for the Preservation of Texas Culture to acknowledge the role the arts have played in the development of Texas.

From saluting the veterans of World War II, to honoring cowboy poets and Texas storytellers, the B.F. and Mary Payne Fund for the Preservation of Texas Culture has enhanced the lives of the people of Panola County through its collaboration with Panola College.

“Panola College is grateful for the continuing support of the Murphy family to bring high caliber performances to our campus that expand our understanding and appreciation of history and the arts for all our citizens,” said Dr. Greg Powell, Panola College President.

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Murphy Payne to bring aerial dance to Panola College