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Cheney’s Vincas Greene brings modern dance to Spokane with Vytal Movement Dance Company

Vincas Greene and the members of his new modern dance company, Vytal Movement, will present the dance concert “Awakenings” at the Bing on Tuesday night. (Ira Gardner)
Vincas Greene and the members of his new modern dance company, Vytal Movement, will present the dance concert “Awakenings” at the Bing on Tuesday night. (Ira Gardner)

His dance career has taken him to every corner of the country and as far away as China, but Vincas Greene has returned home to the Inland Northwest to open Vytal Movement Dance Company, a professional modern dance company.

Vytal Movement will present its dance concert “Awakenings” Tuesday at the Bing Crosby Theater.

Greene, who graduated from Cheney High School and danced at Washington State University and the University of Washington, noticed that while the visual arts, literary arts and music scenes in Spokane thrived, the city was lacking a professional dance scene after the closure of the Spokane Ballet.

“There’s nothing for adult dancers here in Spokane,” Greene said. “I looked at it and said ‘My job is to get dance going, try and get the professional level going, trying to get adult dance going.’ The children’s stuff is so well taken care of up through high school. We’re training beautiful dancers in the Spokane area, but then, of course, they leave.”

After stints in New York and California and 21 years teaching at Brenau University in Georgia, Greene and his wife returned to Spokane.

Greene began teaching community classes at Eastern Washington University, Gonzaga University and Company Ballet School. He formed Vytal Movement in July.

Along with Greene, the current company artists are Grace Barnes, Elizabeth Belyea, Lauren Bray, Sarah Fealk, Marta Nelson, Taylor Oddino, Lexie Powell and Lauren Smith.

The group has performed at Uncharted, Terrain 9, the Spokane Arts Awards and other festivals and events, as well as its own standing-room-only studio show in August.

At the aptly-titled “Awakenings,” Greene hopes to awaken the community to dance while also exploring the awakening he’s experiencing while transitioning from full-time professor to working artist.

The concert will open with excerpts from “Dixit Dominus,” a piece Greene choreographed in 1991.

“It’s funny because the dance from 1991 is older than several of the dancers,” he said. “It’s really nice to have repertory you can bring up. It’s still meaningful as an artwork, and it’s not like ‘Oh, that was just trendy at the time.’ ”

After a break, the company will perform four smaller pieces. Following a second break, the dancers will perform “Awakenings.”

Greene knows modern dance can be difficult to comprehend, but he’s hoping with more performances, Vytal Movement can open people’s minds to dance and the arts in general.

“A lot of what myself and the other artists really want is to integrate the arts into our community,” he said. “Make it so that it’s actually culturally demanded that we participate and see the arts not as some kind of extraneous add on to life, but what they’re really meant to be, as a piece of our life, an expression of our life.”


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