Dancers Dancing connects the (polka) dots |

Dancers Dancing connects the (polka) dots

Carrie Click
Post Independent Arts Writer
Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO
Kelley Cox Post Independent

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Bella Barnum was only 4 years old when she donned a yellow tutu and danced to “Itsy Bitsy Spider” in one of the Glenwood Springs Center for the Arts’ first Dancers Dancing showcases.

“I was in pre-ballet, and my mom painted a spider on my tutu,” Barnum said with a laugh. “I remember being on stage was magical. It was a euphoric feeling.”

That feeling hasn’t changed for Barnum. But now as a senior at Rifle High School and a teacher, choreographer and soloist at the 2012 Dancer’s Dancing’s “Connecting the Dots” performances, her dedication to dance has.

“So much of my life is dance,” said Barnum. “The Center for the Arts is like a second home to me. I’m there so much I should probably set up a cot.”

Barnum is one of the dancers being featured at the 20th annual Dancers Dancing performances today and Saturday at the Jeannie Miller Auditorium at Glenwood Springs High School.

There’s a reason the showcases aren’t being held at GSCA’s renovated electric warehouse building. Plain and simple, there’s no way more than 200 dancers from GSCA’s many dance classes would fit into the art center on top of the hundreds of audience members anticipated to attend.

Dancers are only one group of artists that are being showcased. In addition to the performances’ 34 dances, artists, potters and musicians are exhibiting and performing at Dancers Dancing as well.

“This is a visual masterpiece,” said Christina Brusig, GSCA assistant director. “We’re presenting a mix of dancers, musicians and artists. This is … [a] way to exhibit the talents of all of the students at the Center for the Arts, and connect the dots between our programs in a visual way that can be enjoyed by the community.”

Upon arrival, attendees will be greeted by GSCA student art and pottery, and pre-show music featuring Justin Pfeifer, Mateo Sandate, Ashton Taufer and Aaron Taylor. Later, the musicians will join a 22-person voice class and eight-member home school chorus under the direction of Brad Vierheller and Karen Mills Cochran.

Even the costumes, made by a GSCA costume design class, and set pieces and stage props have been created by art students from the center.

The program is eclectic to say the least. Attendees can expect to see dancers of all ages performing all types of dance. Expect a classical ballet section featuring “Swan Lake” as well as contemporary ballet, tap, jazz, modern dance, lyrical dance, hip hop, break dancing and belly dancing.

Preballet performers will also play a part, including 4-year-old Annabelle Bahr, whose mom Laura Bahr, 31, grew up dancing at the Center for the Arts.

“My first dance teacher was Maurine Taufer, and currently, Maurine is my daughter’s teacher,” said Bahr, who also teaches dance at GSCA.

Watching Annabelle now reminds her mom of the different perspective she had as a little girl.

“Everything seemed so huge then – the rehearsal space, the stage,” said Bahr, with a smile. “It’s funny how that changes.”

Bahr said she’s particularly pleased by the way children are taught to support each other’s efforts in dance classes at the center.

“The teachers really work on their students lifting each other up and promoting each other,” Bahr said. “It’s not competitive; the kids give each other confidence.”

For Bella Barnum, who graduates next month, participating in this year’s Dancers Dancing will be especially memorable. The Center for the Arts has provided such a foundation for her love of dance and theater. After graduation, Barnum plans on majoring in performing arts at either the University of Utah or abroad in London.

“It’ll be really bittersweet,” Barnum said. “I’m so excited for my future, but on the other hand, I can’t imagine not having the Center for the Arts in my life.”

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