Spring Dance Concert raises voices, lives ‘out loud’

Photo of ballet slippersOne of the six dance performance pieces of the upcoming NIU School of Theatre and Dance spring dance concert urges African-American women to raise their voices.

“ ‘Living Out Loud’ shows how African-American women have been silenced for so long in work, play, and their personal lives, and now they can finally celebrate themselves and speak out,” says choreographer and NIU faculty member Paula Frasz.

The performance piece involves three sections, with the first two showing through dance the inability to “speak,” and the final showing 12 black women celebrating their “voice.”

The Spring 2014 Dance Concert, with four performances from Thursday, April 24, through Sunday, April 27, is a collection of this and five other pieces ranging from jazz to ballet.

This concert showcases the students’ ability to tackle the classics as well as modern and contemporary styles of dance, said Judith Chitwood, coordinator of the SoTD dance program.

The concert also includes a performance of “Pas de Quatre,” originally choreographed by Jules Perrot in 1845 and being restaged by Chitwood. As an historical dance piece, Chitwood believes the “Pas de Quatre” captures the essence of the Romantic period ballet style.

Judith Chitwood teaches a ballet student.
Judith Chitwood teaches a ballet student.

However, the premier performance featured four of the greatest ballerinas of the 19th century. As in the original, Chitwood says, “Pas de Quatre” is “a catty and competitive ballet performed by four ballerinas – there is great dancing with a little tongue in cheek rivalry.”

Other pieces in the concert include a lively and fast-paced folk dance titled “Tarantella,” that originally was believed to cure venomous spider bites, and a jazz piece choreographed by guest artist, Robert McKee.

Showtimes for the Spring 2014 Dance Concert are 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. All performances will take place at the Huntley Middle School auditorium, 1515 S. Fourth St. in DeKalb. The house opens 30 minutes before each performance.

Tickets are $16 for adults, $13 for seniors and $8 for students. More information and tickets are available online or by contacting the SoTD box office at (815) 753-1600.

This NIU production is not affiliated with DeKalb Community Unit School District 428.

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