May 16, 2013 in Washington Voices

UI puts dream to beat, steering away from traditional recital

University High School hosts, partakes in show
By The Spokesman-Review

The University of Idaho’s DancersDrummersDreamers will perform at University High School on Friday. The group incorporates dance, music, comedy and nontraditional percussion into a show and works with students at the school where they will perform.
(Full-size photo)

If you go

DancersDrummersDreamers will be at University High School Friday at 7:30 p.m.

The 70-minute show includes students from U-Hi drama and the band from Cashmere High School.

Admission is free and donations will be accepted for the performing arts programs at U-Hi.

It began 22 years ago as a way for performing arts students at the University of Idaho to transform a traditional recital.

“Music recitals irritated me to death,” said Diane Walker, a professor of dance at UI, who helped found DancersDrummersDreamers with Daniel Bukvich in 1991.

Walker said the recitals often ignored the audience, especially in between acts when performers often had to rearrange the stage.

They created DDD to stage a show that doesn’t lose its energy. Bukvich was teaching a music composition class at the time and students volunteered to write the music. Students choreographed everything, too, and often worked with the composers while they created.

Today, the show includes 20 dance students and 20 percussion students from UI. The performance includes dance, percussion on nontraditional instruments, comedy and music. They have been traveling through Idaho and Washington this week and will end up at University High School on Friday at 7:30 p.m.

They not only perform for the community, they include students from the school in the performance. Briane Green, drama director at U-Hi, said her tech students are looking forward to working with their collegiate counterparts. There are also dance students who will perform as well.

“U of I has a really great arts program,” Green said. “It’s cool for (the students) to see it in action.”

Along with U-Hi, band students from Cashmere High School, in town for the Spokane Lilac Festival’s Armed Forces Torchlight Parade Saturday night, will participate, too.

Walker said audiences usually can’t tell which performers just learned their show that day.

The 70-minute show has been cut down from a larger one UI students performed in March. They whittled it down, figured out how college students would teach various parts to high schoolers, and took the show to Coeur d’Alene on Monday, McCall on Tuesday, Boise on Wednesday, Richland today and, finally, U-Hi on Friday.

“It’s this great professional learning experience for them,” Walker said. UI students are in charge of not only parts of the show, but organizing the budget, lining up hotels and food, and organizing the itinerary. For performing arts students who may become teachers themselves someday, these skills will come in handy.

This year’s theme is “Oh, the Places You’ll Go,” based on the popular book by Dr. Seuss. Walker said the music has an Asian flavor to it and the show includes singing, dancing, comedy and surprises. Popular Seussian characters Thing 1 and Thing 2 will make an appearance, as well.

“It’s sort of a modern-day vaudeville,” Walker said.

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