Gonzaga University’s Theatre & Dance Department is presenting its second annual “Dance Presents! Concert” at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. The free event, livestreamed from the Myrtle Woldson Performing Arts Center, will feature original choreography by Kyle Davis, principal dancer with Pacific Northwest Ballet, and the Gonzaga Ballet Ensemble.
Set to Tchaikovsky’s “Variations on a Theme, Op. 35” for string orchestra by Anton Arensky, Davis’ choreography features contemporary movements highlighting the human body in motion.
Arensky’s score, inspired by Richard Henry Stoddard’s “Roses and Thorns,” merges with expressive movement, and organizers hope viewers will transport themselves into the flower gardens of their childhood during the showcase.
Before the Gonzaga Ballet Ensemble’s performance, Davis will debut two original “screen dances,” and faculty member and costume designer Leslie Stamoolis will join him to discuss taking a design from paper to stage and their inspirations.
In January, Gonzaga Dance hosted Peter Boal, artistic director of Pacific Northwest Ballet, as he hosted regional auditions for PNB School’s Summer Intensive. At the time, Boal also led a master class for Gonzaga dance students and began talks of potential future collaborations with dance program director Suzanne Ostersmith.
Boal introduced Ostersmith to Davis, and they had conversations about working together. Faced with the pandemic, the two wanted to make a collaboration possible for students. In October, Davis guest taught classes at Gonzaga via Zoom and began work with the GU Ballet Ensemble. The students are excited and honored to share the new dance work by Davis.
The Ballet Ensemble is composed of 12 dance students from a variety of majors and minors selected to represent Gonzaga Dance.
The students have continued to develop their technique in preparation for the performance under the guidance of dance faculty members Pam Erickson and Sarah Glesk.
“After seeing rehearsal Wednesday night, I can say this is an amazing story,” Ostersmith said via email. “It’s a story of hope if ever there was one.”
The online performance is free, but donations to Gonzaga’s Dance Endowment are welcome at bit.ly/2Gy5TUz.
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