Whidbey Dance Theatre presents Sketches of Spring

"Photo: Whidbey Dance Theatre company members performing in the 2000 spring concert are (from left) top row: Morgana Lawlor-White, Karla Gilbert, Katelyn Candelario, Amy Berto, Kira Hubbard; bottom row: Kellie Riggs, Katie Watson, Andrea Burr, Katie Riggs, Elise Spencer.Photo by Bill RuthThe concertWhidbey Dance Theatre presents its spring concert, Sketches of Spring, at the Whidbey Island Center for the Arts on March 25 and 26, at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 1:30 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $10 adults, $6 seniors and students; call the box office at 221-8268.New dances, both contemporary and classical, will mark the annual spring concert of the Whidbey Dance Theatre next weekend.Called Sketches of Spring, the production is under the guidance of artistic director Charlene Brown, and will feature two special guests: the Olympic Ballet Theatre and the Peninsula Dance Theatre.The two days of dance also showcase the work of Island choreographers Asharaine Machala, Kyra Barnholt, Amy Windecker and Susan Vanderwood All of these choreographers have developed their dance pieces based on their distinct love for the art, Brown said. This has given the Whidbey Dance Theatre Company members a chance to experience first hand the professional training of our local talent.All four choreographers teach at Island Dance. Machala, the noted choreographer of The Snow Queen and the 1999 Nutcracker, is known for her visionary qualities. Windecker will be remembered for her underwater rope piece in the ballet, as well as for her portrayal of the Mouse King. Barnholt danced the role of beautiful woodland fairy in the production.In Sketches of Spring, Machala presents two new dances: Siblings, a work that explores the variables and vicissitudes inherent in the most basic, and most interesting, of human relationships, Machala said. In her second piece, There Are Steps to Be Taken, J.S. Bach's gracious Brandenburg Concerto provides a musical stage from which the dancers can climb to .... where? This dance is part of a larger dance/theatre piece being created by Machala and Langley Middle School students as part of a Washington State Arts Grant.Kyra Barnholt's dance is presented in three scenes, portraying the meeting of the dance master of the Paris Opera with the famed impressionist artist Edgar Degas. Degas sketches what he envisions to be the sights and sounds of the performance, as soloist and ballet corps take part in their daily ballet class, then rehearse for a performance, and finally perform their finished pieces. As the final bow is taken, the lights fade and the spotlight goes to Degas as he closes his sketch pad and prepares to leave.Susan Vanderwood has choreographed a dance to the hard-driving music of Vitamin C's Not That Kind of Girl. Eight dancers perform a high energy jazz dance in this contemporary piece of the same name.Amy Windecker describes her dance, InEqualibrio, as a study on the distintegration of a group both physically and socially, allowing the individuals to test their voices amongst the mass. The contemporary modern dance piece has been developed through specific methods of improvisation, an intensive rehearsal process and environment and a dramatic use of music and prop.Throughout rehearsal the performers were asked to be active participants through their daily lives. The dancers' presence and persona are considered a necessity to the choreography and operation of the work, Windecker said. On stage throughout the entire dance there is a wall of canvas and a rope suspended from the ceiling used to catch people in flight. It allows us to explore the truest sense of gravity and weight echoing movement done in contact with the floor and other bodies, she said. Guest companies, the Olympic Ballet Theatre and Peninsula Dance Theatre, add a further dimension to the program. Olympic Ballet artistic directors John and Helen Wilkins bring 13 dancers to perform the contemporary and abstract Ngomnia Phromnia Rosea (Dancing Red Bugs), a title derived from its source in African based music.Also performing will be the 15 company members of the Peninsula Dance Theatre under the direction of artistic director Lawan Morrison.WDT is proud to continue its long-standing tradition of bringing this spring concert to the community, Charlene Brown said. Our commitment to the enrichment of our company dancers is reflected through our affiliation with accomplished choreographers, providing ever evolving creative opportunities.She added, We invite everyone to come and watch Whidbey Island's finest dancers. 'Sketches of Spring' will appeal to all."

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