Dancing with the Stars in Glenwood Springs
Waving ecstatically at the audience, 6-year-old Laurel Baker was eager to show her dad her fancy dance routine.”Daddy, it’s my turn,” said the blonde-haired Laurel, as she stood in front of six other dancers during the Glenwood Springs Center for the Arts Dancers Dancing rehearsal at the GSHS auditorium Wednesday.Her enthusiasm quickly spread and soon all the little girls were waving to their parents. Then the music to “Camp Grenada” began to play, the waving ceased, and the twirling began.The rehearsal for the 14th Annual Dancers Dancing – taking place at 7 p.m. today and Saturday and 1 p.m. Saturday – also featured rhythmic belly dancers led by instructor Aarin Meager-Benson.”It’s a powerful dance,” said Meager-Benson, who has been a belly dancer for seven years and began teaching at the Center for the Arts in January. “These dancers are fabulous. I really enjoy sharing the stage with them.”Although this year is the first Dancers Dancing performance for Meager-Benson, she has been dancing since she was 4. She took classes in ballet, jazz and tap before discovering belly dancing.
“I was always in recitals growing up, so this is really special to be on the other side of it, teaching. The ballet especially sneaks into belly dancing – you really have to have beautiful arms and ballet really contributes to that,” she said. “When I was in naturopathic medical school, there was a talent show with two belly dance performances. It was love at first sight.”Meager-Benson studied in Seattle with mentors who taught her the different styles associated with belly dancing.”There’s cabaret, tribal, Egyptian. I call the type of belly dance I teach ‘fusion,”‘ said Meager-Benson, who recently started the five-member Sahara Moon dance troupe and hopes to perform this summer at Mountain Fair and other venues. “I teach more from the roots of belly dancing. It’s more about women reclaiming their bodies, celebrating the feminine body and its form.”As a naturopathic physician at the Valley Wellness center, Meager-Benson sees a connection between belly dancing and good health.”In naturopathic medicine, we focus on the moving causes of illness,” said Meager-Benson, whose students range from beginner to intermediate, ages 15 to 60. “The cause of a lot of illnesses is poor body image. Belly dancing is about building body image and self-esteem, supporting other women and empowerment.”For Maurine Taufer, who has been teaching dance for more than 20 years, sharing the art of dance with kids is her inspiration.
“I just love the art form of dance – the physical, the emotional and mental can come together for personal expression,” said Taufer, who returned to the Center for the Arts in January to teach after taking a break to raise children. “I just love it when life comes to the students’ bodies, and besides that, it’s just a whole lot of fun.Taufer teaches modern and creative dance at the Center and is working with 8- to 18-year-olds for her classes’ performance titled, “On the Move.””The thing that makes it different is that I’ve combined both my 8- to 12-year-old and 14- to 18-year-old classes together,” she said. “The contrast of their sizes is unique. And it’s a really bright, colorful dance.”Center for the Arts director Gayle Mortell said audiences should expect variety at the 14th annual show that features more than 100 dancers.”This one has more of a contemporary lilt to it,” Mortell said. “It will be modern, but it will also be very diverse. We have ballet, jazz, tap, belly dancing.”Glenwood Springs High School senior Laurren Elshof, who has been dancing since the fifth grade, is performing in several of the show’s acts. She choreographed the modern dance “Butterfly” and a solo point piece called “Unreal.”
“My favorite type of dance is jazz,” said Elshof, who hopes to study interior design in college next year. “Ballet’s kind of boring sometimes. Jazz keeps you going.”Contact April E. Clark: 945-8515, ext. firstname.lastname@example.orgTwinkle toes
• Who: Glenwood Springs Center for the Arts dancers• What: 14th Annual Dancers Dancing• When: 7 p.m. today and Saturday and 1 p.m. Saturday• Where: Glenwood Springs High School auditorium• How much: $15/adults, $8/students• Information: 945-2414
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