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Performing Arts Center strengthens sophomore schedule

Liz Byrum | Wednesday, August 24, 2005

More than 10,000 people walked through the doors of the DeBartolo Center for the Performing Arts (DPAC) during its open house weekend last September. And while the DPAC is only in its second year, its inaugural success has raised hopes and expectations for the coming semester. “The Performing Arts Center is still defining what its greatest strengths are,” said Laura Moran, director of marketing at the DPAC.Already some of those strengths are becoming clear, even as the venue is in transition.The top three focuses for entertainment shows continue to be classical, world and jazz performances. Notre Dame will also feature groups focused on modern dance, touring theatre, blue grass and popular music over the next few months.On Sept. 2, the season will open with a unique one-night performance by the Las Vegas act, Toxic Audio. They are currently performing a long-standing show at the Luxor Las Vegas Hotel and have been described as the “vocal equivalent of STOMP.” As winner of New York’s 2004 Drama Desk Award, Toxic Audio is beginning to reach the level of fame that Blue Man Group enjoyed five years ago.In the coming year, Notre Dame will welcome several of the great modern dance companies in the United States, including Merce Cunningham Dance Company.”Merce Cunningham Dance Company has performed to [musical compositions] scored specifically for them by Radiohead and John Cage,” Moran said.Notre Dame also extends its Irish tradition to the performing arts again this year with a returning performance by The Chieftains next March and the legendary Irish musician Tommy Makem and his sons, the Makem Brothers, in late September.In the field of cinema, DPAC is “doing a great job at showing films that relate to who we are as a school and a community,” Moran said.This year, Browning Cinema will feature several films making their premieres in Northern Indiana, including “Murderball” on Sept. 2 and Sept. 3, as well as “Rize” and “Last Days” later in September.The PAC Classic 100 film series, a collection of films deemed essential and noteworthy over the course of the medium’s existence, will also continue into the fall.The performing arts center has also made it a mission to help build strong connections between the university and the surrounding South Bend community.”Notre Dame is trying to partner with different organizations that will help us develop the relationship with the South Bend community,” Moran said.University President Father John Jenkins has been instrumental to this cause through his personal involvement with the South Bend Symphony Orchestra, Moran said. The orchestra will be presenting the June H. Edwards Chamber Series within DPAC, with the hope that it will create more personal ties between the university and the surrounding areas, Moran said.Hoping to connect to the community outside Notre Dame, the DPAC has been undergoing changes to its physical location, including construction to the surrounding area and the newly constructed south entrance to Notre Dame Avenue. Moran believes that the new walking paths and a possible outdoor amphitheatre will serve as “a space students will enjoy spending time in and a great meeting place with people in the community.”Another welcomed improvement DPAC has made for this season is the addition of a brand new Web site and the ability to purchase tickets online for many of the upcoming shows. With the convenience of a click of a button and a short walk, there are more reasons than ever for students to attend the performing arts center in its second season, Moran said. “We would like to get to the point where arts are an inescapable part of a Notre Dame student’s experience at school,” she said.