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Family Fun: Step into fun and education at DanceFest

Participants line dance during DanceFest 2019 at Spokane Community College. This year’s festival will feature master classes on clogging, salsa and contemporary dance. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Participants line dance during DanceFest 2019 at Spokane Community College. This year’s festival will feature master classes on clogging, salsa and contemporary dance. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)

Dance lovers, sashay your way to Spokane Community College on Saturday.

DanceFest celebrates its 20th year with a day of classes and performances, and festival coordinator Gail Bongiovanni promises lots of variety.

“You name it, it’s there, and we just love sharing,” said Bongiovanni, who also is president of the Inland Northwest Dance Association.

The festival started in 2001 as a fundraiser to help the families of a Chinese dance troupe involved in an auto accident near Ritzville. Two of the dancers were killed, and one was severely injured. It’s continued as a way to offer both dance education and performances.

This year’s festival kicks off with master classes on clogging, salsa and contemporary dance. Then, in the afternoon, dancers from throughout the region will perform. There will be folk dancing and hip-hop, ballet and tap, clogging and jigs – and more.

“You have a professional ballerina out there, then a 6-year-old doing a German dance,” Bongiovanni said. “It allows for a great variety for the audience, and we intermix everybody so it keeps it constantly moving and changing.”

Each performance lasts just a few minutes, and audience members can come and go during the two hours. Adding to the variety is the fact that the festival is the same day as the SCC Spring Craft Fair, so attendees will be able to move from one to the other.

DanceFest is free, so to raise money the group will sell raffle tickets for gift baskets donated by members. Winners will be drawn after the performance ends.

For people who discover a style of dance they might like trying, most studios will have information available about classes.

“We always have a great variety of things, and it’s always fun to see what people are coming up with,” she said.

Master classes

Stepping in Time With Clogging: Melissa Johnson of the Stevens County Stompers will teach the class for dancers ages 8 and older. No experience necessary, but it’s helpful.

Casino/Rueda Salsa: During the class, LisaMichelle Eigler of Life Feet Latin Dance will teach the three basic steps that make up all salsa movies, basic partner work, turns and partner exchanges.

Somatic Approach to Contemporary Dance Technique: Karla Parbon of Gonzaga University’s Dance Department will teach students to express themselves creatively through contemporary dance. Intermediate level dance experience required.

Registration is required for the master classes. If signing up the day of the festival, come early to fill out paperwork. Minors will need an adult to sign the waiver.

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