Many Rhythms Make For a Good Time at Spring Dance Concert

From hip hop to ballet, Broadway to contemporary, HSU student dancers present their annual spring concert for five performances beginning Wednesday, Apr. 11 in the Van Duzer Theatre—including a dance recently honored at the American College Dance Festival.

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In No Ecosystems Were Harmed During the Making of This Dance by Sharon Butcher: Hannah Lautze, Jared Mathis, Shelby House.

Titled Of Time and Rhythm, the concert features 10 original dances: seven choreographed by students and three by HSU faculty. “There’s so much variety this year,” said Artistic Director Sharon Butcher, “that there’s really something for everyone. Our dancers are very strong, so performances are guaranteed to be very exciting.”

The theme of time and rhythm is expressed in this variety. In “Off Duty,” Dance Studies major Gina Lee uses street dance, jazz and hip hop to create “a really wonderful, very joyful dance,” Butcher said, “that should warm everyone’s heart.” In stylistic contrast, HSU dance teacher Erin Fernandez McKeever employs ballet to express the slow movements of stars in the night sky, in “Constellations.”

Sharon Butcher’s own dance brings a North Coast consciousness—and some eco-silliness—to No Ecosystems Were Harmed During the Making of This Dance, which deploys 20 dancers amidst recycled materials to have fun but make a point, “not only about recycling and reusing, but re-inventing and re-creating,” Butcher said. This dance was selected as one of the top ten dances performed at the recent Northwest Conference of the American College Dance Festival.

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Danielle Gutierrez in Linda Maxwell’s tribute to dance in Broadway and Hollywood musicals, Slap That Bass.

Also on the light-hearted side, senior Marissa Young sets tap dancers against contemporary dancers in Playful Cadence. Named after a Fred Astaire-sung tune, Slap That Bass is a tribute to Broadway and Hollywood musicals by dance faculty member Linda Maxwell. It is “completely entertaining from beginning to end,” Butcher said.

Revealing more serious themes, student choreographers Kelly Gordon and Erika Berg each explore in different ways the shifting patterns of support and solace among people coping with life-changing circumstances. A solo by third year Dance Studies major Jasmine Wolfe expresses a personal struggle.

Student choreographers also find inspiration in their other studies at HSU. Shelby House, a Dance and Religious Studies double major, became intrigued by a phenomenon she learned in a psychobiology class: that people adapt to one another’s physical rhythms.

Hannah Lautze, another Religious Studies and Dance major, sets three classical goddesses in motion. “One of the ways she describes this dance is balancing the feminine and the fierce,” Butcher said.

The dances by Jasmine Wolfe and Hannah Lautze were also shown at the American College Dance Festival in Utah. To support this festival participation and other HSU dance special programs, tickets to win prizes ranging from a Kindle reader to $100 gift certificates to Wildberries and the Outdoor Store will be sold at all performances. Winners will be drawn at the Sunday matinee.

Of Time and Rhythm is performed in the Van Duzer Theatre at HSU, Wednesday through Saturday, Apr. 11 to 14 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Apr. 15 at 2 p.m. $10/$8 with a limited number of free seats to HSU students at each performance, from HSU Box Office (826-3928) or at the door. Directed by Sharon Butcher, produced by HSU Department of Theatre, Film and Dance. HSUStage.blogspot.com.