TURNING POINTS

Concert dance recitals highlight weekend


Dance Theatre of Santa Fe will perform its annual summer dance production, “Room to Dance,” on Friday and Saturday at Santa Fe College’s Fine Arts Hall.

Courtesy of Jessica Mayhew
Published: Thursday, May 30, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, May 29, 2013 at 3:30 p.m.

This weekend brings audiences concert dance at Santa Fe College and Pofahl Studio’s student recital at the Phillips Center.

Pofahl Studios presents “Alice in Wonderland,” an original student recital on Sunday at 6 p.m.

Tickets are available in advance through the Phillips Center box office, or at the door.

New to this year’s Pofahl recital is a “Dancing Dads” number, with more than 25 volunteer fathers performing a rehearsed routine.

Pofahl’s 2013 graduating high school senior soloists are: Tori Banner (dancing Cheshire Cat), Deanna Garcia (Queen of Hearts), Naomi Henderson (Mad Hatter), Megan Howell as Alice, Sarah Beth Thompson (White Queen) and Savannah Williams (Duchess).

Pofahl Studios is the official school of Dance Alive National Ballet, Gainesville’s only adult professional dance company.

The following weekend, Cameron Dancenter’s annual production wraps up the recital season.

With two locations and Gainesville’s largest studio enrollment, including high school seniors Anne Anderson, Emilee Bell, Zach Bennett, Michaela Borsa, Courtney Bryant, Grace Hadlock, Stevie Howland and Kayla Jones, Cameron Dancenter presents four distinct programs.

The cast also features McKenzie Jones, Bridget Joyner, Taylor Laffey, Elizabeth Lipham, Anna Montmarquette, Abrianna Spurgin-Kabinu, Loren Terry, VIcky Todd, Haley Weber and Jessica Yomano.

Performances are June 7 at 6:30 p.m. and June 8 at 10 a.m, 2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.

The programs do not follow a theme, but aim for an eclectic end-of-year student program with a high production quality.

Danscompany of Gainesville, the resident non-profit performing company of Cameron Dancenter, will feature works in each program.

Speaking of student performances, this Friday and Saturday is Dance Theatre of Santa Fe’s annual student-choreographed production, “Room to Dance.”

“Room to Dance” is on Friday and Saturday with performances at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets are $15, with $12 balcony seating, at the state-of-the-art Fine Arts Hall on the SF campus. There is a $9 ticket for seniors as well as children 11 and younger.

Anyone with a valid SF ID may attend for free.

“Room to Dance” features nine student choreographers who worked with SFC dance faculty members Melissa Canto, Jessica Mayhew and Sarah Harkness–Sebastian.

Harkness-Sebastian joined SFC dance faculty in 2012, after receiving her MFA from FSU’s prestigious School of Dance. She also has performed with San Francisco’s Oberlin Dance Company, with the likes of Martin Sheen and Stockard Channing, and in France, Spain and Ireland.

“To help students realize that their own artistic voice is already a valid force to drive a choreographic work is my favorite thing,” says Harkness-Sebastian. “You get to help them see what’s already inside of them.”

“That’s what makes this production so diverse,” she explains. “The student choreographers are all very different people with a wide range of backgrounds. Some of them come from a highly rigorous, conservatory-style high school dance program, so they already work within a concert dance mindframe. Then you have the student who’s always naturally been able to move, and this sometimes translates into experience on a dance team, a student club, or dancing for fun out at club. They have a place in the dance world, they just came by it from a different route. And then you have the theater-background kids, who learned to dance in musicals and who may look at it from a theatrical or narrative point of view.”

Works range from street dance to classical ballet, from high-energy jazz to quiet, conceptual modern dance.

“It blows my mind what these students are challenging themselves with,” says Harkess-Sebastian.

“We call ‘Room to Dance’ our student-choreographed show, but really it is student produced,” she adds. “They are involved in all aspects of the performance. For example, the lighting designers are students. So our dancers get to learn how to dialogue with artists of a different medium. The whole show is student-created.”

The one exception is an original work by University of Alabama dance department director Cornelius Carter.

Carter set his work, “In Memory of ...” as a tribute to the talent and heart of the SFC dancers with whom he worked with during his recent visit to the college.

Sarah Maze can be reached at sarahi@ufl.edu.

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