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Dance theater kicks off season finale

April 7, 2011

Members of Dance Theatre will be hosting their annual Spring Concert at 7:30 p.m. on April 27, 28, 29 and 30 in the Blanche Davis Theatre in the Kleinpell Fine Arts Building.

The spring concert is a mix of 12 modern dance routines that are choreographed by directors, outside guest choreographers and student choreographers who are active in Dance Theatre on the University of Wisconsin-River Falls campus.

Dance Theatre is a modern dance company on campus that specializes in the contemporary theatrical style of dance that uses the entire body in expressive movements to display abstract ideas.

While other styles of dance are active on campus, Dance Theatre provides students with a chance to become a member of a dance company unlike any other.

“There is dance all over campus but there is nothing like the style of Dance Theatre,” said co-director Karla Zhe. “The goal of Dance Theatre is to present dance as a fine art.”

The organization has been active on the UWRF campus for almost 30 years and co-director Zhe has been helping the company progress since the beginning.

Every year the company holds auditions in September that are open to anyone on campus, the only requirement is that those trying out love to dance, according to the organizations website.

This year there are 37 performing members of the dance company and 12 crew members.

“We’ve got accounting majors, animal science majors…just about any major you can think of and we have had all of them active in Dance Theatre,” Zhe said.

During the auditions guest choreographers come in to help create routines and then pick around 30 people to join the company.

Those auditioning that do not make the cut during the audition process are highly encouraged to remain active in Dance Theatre as a non-performer, said co-director Mari Kline-Kluck who is in her 12th year with the program.

Some people who have joined Dance Theatre late in their college career have still been able to enjoy the benefits of the developed program as an outlet of expression. 

“Dance Theatre has opened my eyes to another form of expression for myself, it has become somewhat of an escape for me,” said senior math major Anthony Carlsen, who is performing his first year with the company.

For other members it is also a form of artistic expression. All four student choreographers said they had feelings that Dance Theatre has allowed them to express themselves in a new way outside of everyday life.

“I gather my artistic influences from watching people. People on campus, people in videos; everyday people inspire dance,” said senior student choreographer and secondary education major Laura Chandler.

Because the company is the only outlet for modern dance on campus, members of the organization said they feel that it benefits campus because it helps people open their eyes to something new. 

“Because it’s modern dance it exposes campus to something they might not see, it helps them be more open minded of things,” said senior student choreographer and elementary education major Kyra Scanlan.

This year the Spring Concert series has two professional choreographers coming in from the Twin Cities area, Kari Mosel and Bryan Godbout.

Both are members of multiple dance companies in the Twin Cities area and were hired by the directors of Dance Theatre to set their choreographed routines to the performing members of the organization.

Mosel received her BFA from the University of Minnesota.

In addition to performing Mosel serves as an administrative assistant for Shapiro and Smith Dance as well as Stuart Pimsler Dance and Theatre.

Godbout graduated from the University of Minnesota with a BFA in Dance and a second major in Theatre Arts. He was named in the Minneapolis Star Tribune as an up and coming dancer making his mark on the Twin Cities, according to Zhe.