By Katie Weitkamp/The Studio editor
Variety is the key to getting and keeping an audience. That’s what the EKU Dance Theatre is striving to accomplish. With a variety of ballet, modern dance, jazz, salsa and waltz, the theatre hopes to keep up the attendance from last year.The dance theatre has put on concerts for the past six years, just recently adding a second concert to the calendar.
“We do a lot more in the spring because we build on what we did (the previous semester),” said Marianne McAdam, who teaches dance at Eastern.
This semester there are almost 60 students working on the production, some of whom are dance theatre minors and some that come from other disciplines and are just interested in dance.
“I think a lot of the students come to the concerts and then want to be a part of it,” McAdam said. “We get a lot of different (perspectives) because most students don’t have a lot of training in one area. They aren’t used to one style; they aren’t stuck in any way.”
McAdam said she lets the students have a lot of freedom with their dances; she just makes sure the technical aspects go along with the music.
Students normally choreograph the show, but have to audition their pieces before they are accepted. After a dance is auditioned and accepted, performers then audition for the dance parts within the piece. Also, a separate audition is held for ballroom dances.
For this concert, Jason Koontz of the music department choreographed an African piece, which will be in the Wednesday and Thursday concerts. Koontz choreographed the dance after studying in Africa. The African dance won’t be featured in the Tuesday concert because Koontz has another concert the same day.
The concert dates were chosen around the dates Tonya Harper could do lighting for the concerts. Harper also works at the University of Kentucky.
“The lighting is very artistically important,” McAdam said. “Tonya does a wonderful job. You have to capture the mood of the dance, and that’s hard to do.”
Since Eastern doesn’t have lights for the effects the dances need, lights must also be rented.
Last year around 900 people came to the concerts with 400 attending the last night.
“We had to bring in extra chairs,” McAdam said.
Students and the community have come out to show their support for the dance department in the past and McAdam and dance students hope the interest in the production keeps increasing.
“It will expose you to more diversity in arts,” said Skip George, a graduate student studying music.
Also, coming to the concert will count as a humanities class credit in some classes where outside requirements must be met.
Tickets for students who want to attend the spring concert are $5; non-student tickets are $8. All tickets are available at the door of the concert Tuesday through Thursday at 8 p.m. in the Student Services Building Auditorium.