World-renowned dancer John Gardner (right) has made a dance centered on the idea of freedom entitled “US.”
ALTON — Shoestring Dance returns to the Jacoby Arts Center with dancers from Principia College, The Creative Dance Studio and special guest artists to offer a spring program centered on the theme of freedom and the American experience.
The audience will be treated to an hour of short dances ranging from ballet to hip hop, tap to modern. With original choreography and movement to music, live vocals and even a Dr. Seuss reading, there’s something for everyone at 7 p.m. Saturday, April 23, at 627 E. Broadway in Alton.
The cornerstone piece is a new ballet by John Gardner, a world-renowned dancer (formerly of American Ballet Theatre and Michael Baryshnikov’s White Oak Dance Project) who has made a dance centered on the idea of freedom entitled “US.”
“US is dance that captures the different forms of freedom … from violence, distrust and anger, to trust, support and strength. It’s an honor to do this outside of Principia,” said Hilary Harper-Wilcoxen, associate professor of dance at Principia College. Harper-Wilcoxen is co-founder of Left Bank Dance and artistic director of Shoestring Dance.
In addition to Gardner’s ballet, there will be one performed to a Frank Sinatra ballad. Jason Wissman performs a hip-hop solo to Kygo and Labrinth’s “Fragile.” One of Harper-Wilcoxen’s students will tap.
Rachel Brady, program director at The Creative Dance Studio in Alton, solos a modern dance. Two of Brady’s older students will dance a contemporary piece and some of her young students will dance to music after a reading of a Dr. Seuss book.
“It’s an exploration of color and feeling,” Harper-Wilcoxen said. “Why is blue associated with sadness or yellow with happiness?
“Salute to Dance runs the full gamut, from well-renowned dancer/choreographer to Dr. Seuss,” she said. “This isn’t a variety show, but it is an eclectic one.”
Harper-Wilcoxen said she wants to introduce dance to the Alton community and to show her students that it’s possible to “make dance anywhere we can. Dance doesn’t have to be performed in a premium venue. It’s by and for all kinds of people.”
Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the door or at http://jacobyartscenter.org/events. Seating is on a first-come, first-seated basis. Doors open 30 minutes in advance. A cash bar will be available.
Game Changers will present “This is Our Story” at 3 p.m. Sunday, April 24, in advance of the 2016 Regional High School Art Exhibition reception and awards ceremony at 6 p.m., sponsored by Illinois American Water. Both events are free and open to the public.
Game Changers, Theatre for Social Change, is a group of Alton High School and Principia College students. Under the direction of Principia College Annenberg Scholar Caroline Watson and Professor Chrissy Steele, the group will present “This is Our Story,” a new play that gives voice to issues and concerns young people are facing in their lives: challenges with parents, drug use, relationships with friends and standing up for what you feel is right.
Based on the work of Brazilian theater practitioner Augusto Boal, the performance will involve the audience in discussing the stories presented and exploring possible solutions. The audience does not just watch the play but becomes an active agent for change, what Boal calls a “spect-actor.”
More information is available at http://jacobyartscenter.org/.