Jamaican choreographer Garth Fagan, best known for his Tony Award-winning work in the Broadway stage production of Disney's "The Lion King," will conduct a lecture demonstration tonight as a part of the celebration of 40 years of Africana studies at Bowdoin.

The presentation entails a lecture interspersed with excerpts of Fagan's choreography. Dancers from his company, Garth Fagan Dance, will perform pieces. Following the process, Fagan will explain the techniques used.

Organized through the Bowdoin College Museum of Art and the Department of Theater and Dance and sponsored by the Office of the Dean of Academic Affairs, the presentation will be held in conjunction with the opening of the Romare Bearden exhibition at the museum.

Bringing Fagan and Bearden together to the College is particularly significant because the two artists were good friends. Following Bearden's death in 1988, Fagan choreographed a piece called "Dance Collage for Romie" in his honor. This connection between the two artists facilitated the simultaneous exhibition of their work at Bowdoin.

"The museum became involved because of the exhibition, but we [also] made the initial contact with Fagan and then collaborated with a number of different departments," said Curatorial Assistant of the Museum of Art Kate Herlihy.

Dean of Academic Affairs Cristle Collins Judd said that her office "is often able to facilitate collaborations between departments." According to Judd, this collaboration is primarily a commemoration of Africana studies at the College. It is also a celebration of the African American Society, Russworm House and the new faculty members in the department: Olufemi Vaughan, Tess Chakkalakal and Judith Casselberry.

"This is a celebration of the past and the future of the department," said Judd. "It's important that we can gather people together who have been historically involved in the department."

"Bowdoin is setting a direction in the field of Africana studies with the faculty's work and the curriculum," Judd added. "It's a great moment to celebrate this."

Fagan has made significant contributions to the dance world. His style combines traditional ballet technique, modern dance and Afro-Caribbean dances. This unique synthesis prompted the New York Post to call his company "brilliant."

The theater and dance department also integrated Fagan's demonstration into many of its classes' curriculum.

In addition to Fagan, another New York-based dancer and choreographer, Ana Isabel Keilson, shared her work with the dance department this week. Keilson worked as a guest teacher in many of the dance department's classes this past Tuesday and Wednesday and conducted an informal studio showing of her choreography on Thursday evening.

A Maine native and 2005 graduate of Barnard College, Keilson has been dancing and choreographing in New York City for nine years. She described her style as being "quirky and often rooted in strong rhythms and game-playing."

"We are thrilled that both of these choreographers are visiting. It will be interesting to see how having [both choreographers] in the same week will allow us to talk about them and see a fabulous contrast, which will help make [the experience] richer," said senior lecturer in Dance Performance, Gwyneth Jones.

Fagan's lecture demonstration will be held tonight at Pickard Theatre at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are required and are available at Smith Union.