The newly renamed UW-Green Bay Theatre and Dance program will present Danceworks, a concert of faculty and student choreography, at 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 5 and Saturday, April 6 at the University Theatre in Theatre Hall.
The performance marks a return from hiatus for Danceworks, which will for the first time be presented as a mainstage production, said Artistic Director Denise Carlson-Gardner. It’s a similar show, she said — but bigger and better for 2013.
“Danceworks is a dance concert of 13 pieces, and eight of them are choreographed by myself and five of them are choreographed by students,” Carlson-Gardner said. “So it’s a very good opportunity to take what they’re learning in choreography class and applying all those concepts and skills that they’re given as choreographers and to be able to test that out on a stage setting.”
Audiences will enjoy a diverse array of musical and dance styles during the program, Carlson-Gardner said.
“The styles are from contemporary, which is kind of a new type of modern — it’s usually done to more popular music but it still kind of has a modern flare to it,” she said. “There’s classical jazz, jazz funk —which is what you see in music videos — there’s tap, classical and rhythm tap — kind of a really broad spectrum, which really represents all the styles that the students are learning in our department.”
For sophomore Chemistry major Sarah Larson, Danceworks offers the chance to share a love of dance she’s nurtured since childhood. Even those who haven’t seen much dance will enjoy the performance, Larson said.
“I think it’s just a lot of fun to experience something new, and the best thing about — at least the pieces that I’m in — is that they each tell a different story,” Larson said. “So even if you don’t know all the technical aspects of dance, you still get a story told to you in some way shape or form. It’s like going to a theatre, the story is told through words, whereas going to a dance piece it’s told through our movements — so that’s a really cool aspect.”
Larson is among many of Carlson-Gardner’s students who aren’t majoring in Theatre and Dance, she said. But the class and performance opportunities help students obtain a well-rounded education — and enjoy themselves immensely while doing it.
“Many students dance in studios in their own communities, you know, they’ve been on their high school dance teams or they’ve been in musicals in their high school,” Carlson-Gardner said. “And when they get here, there’s really kind of a void, because they love dance. So once they get involved in dance classes, then they realize this opportunity is here. And I would say 50 percent of students are majors in Theatre and Dance and 50 percent are people who just love to dance.”
That definitely applies for Larson, who will keep dancing as long as she can — despite a major and career choice that have nothing to do with her favorite activity.
“When I came here I knew I wanted to major in the sciences, but still wanted to keep dancing — so that’s why I joined all the dance classes,” Larson said. “I’m actually thinking of tacking on a dance minor to my chemistry degree. “I want to go into forensics — that’s what I want to do. And I always want to keep dance as part of my life.”
More information about UW-Green Bay Theatre and Dance is available online.