Movement as art
CARBONDALE, Colorado On Tuesday evening, Roaring Fork High Schools auditorium felt like another world. The lights were dimmed, and on stage dancers of all ages were flouncing and leaping, stopping and starting, redoing their steps at times. There was this sense of fatigue and excitement with everyone. There was also a palpable nervousness.And rightly so. Dancers Dancing (dubbed Imagine this year), the Glenwood Springs Center for the Arts annual spring extravaganza, kicks up its heels starting tonight.Theres really something to be said when youre doing something the best you can, said co-director Maurine Taufer, sitting in the audience.
The long-time dance instructor was talking about the joy of watching her students all 12 classes of them perform their hearts out. She co-directed the first Dancers back in 1993, and ever since, the idea behind the performance has been the same, she said. Its all about giving every dance student their moment on stage. She gave a short run-down of the shows basics and explained that the night will be one of tap, ballet, belly dance and more. About 150 artists, ages 3 to 50 will strut their stuff. A real collaboration of art center folk, Dancers will feature original artwork by artist-in-residence Renick Stevenson and live music from teacher Melody Hartman. Choreography from six instructors will be performed, along with special dances by guest choreographers Chung-Fu Chang and Tony Coppola.And as Taufer watched the rehearsal unfold, she looked delighted.You see this happiness and expression of fun they (the dancers) have, she said. And you get to see them progress.A dance teacher for 26 years, she called the art a thread that has definitely held my life together. She mentioned the pride of watching her students grow into their talent and talked about all
the facets that make dance exciting. Even those who dont get it might enjoy its compositions or colors or music, she said. And she was sure the more you know about it, the more youll come to love.Oh yeah, Im a total believer in it, she added, smiling.A few minutes later, fellow director Laurie Pearce took a moment from her students and plopped down. She apologized for her babyfied brain (she has a 14-month-old), but was still energetic and completely involved in what she was creating.Its about having fun, you know? Thats what dance is, she said, talking with her hands.A life-long dancer, Pearce has only been with the art center since December, but she was bowled over by how much she enjoys it. She feels connected with the students, she said, and she loves giving them a place to get away from it all.Dance means freedom to me, she went on. Its an expression of my freedom, if I were to sum it up.As she and Taufer had been talking, the stage had shifted several times. Teens in sparkly tops had twirled furiously to rock music and then spun in white dresses to R & B tunes. Tiny four-year-olds, dressed as ballerina bears had bowed and plid. Their pudgy stomachs hidden by pink tutus, they were cute to the point of distraction. Further into the run-through, older dancers did a more experimental number and folded origami as they moved.There were faltering moments in all the pieces, but when they came together, there was a real sense of joy coming from the directors and from the students themselves. During breaks, a few of them spoke as to just why that is.For Dalton Blair, 15, dancing on-stage is about being somebody else for a little while.To Shauni Bowles, 18, who has performed in every Dancers show, this is something she looks forward to every year. It keeps her body in shape, she explained, and it makes her mind clear. As she put it, It keeps me sane.It was Lauren Elshof, 20, however, who most perfectly echoed the directors sentiments. She spoke of how much she loves having her family come see her perform her passion. More than that, she mentioned how she much this show affects other dancers, especially the littlest ones.If they can perform on stage, then they can approach pretty much anyone and anything with strength, she said.Her voice was smooth and confident. She sounded like she was speaking from experience.Contact Stina Sieg: email@example.comPost Independent Glenwood Springs CO Colorado
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