There's something different this year about Seabury Hall Performing Arts' annual Dance Showcase: the amazing female dancers won't just be dancing solo.
"This year, the program is proud to include seven boys. It's the most we've ever had at one time," says director David Ward. "They're doing great work. And that allows us to do more challenging partner work than we've been able to do in a long time."
When Seabury's "Dance Showcase 2009" opens next weekend, partner work will be at center stage - especially in numbers like guest choreographer Julane Stites' "Disco Inferno," a lighthearted piece featuring authentic '70s disco moves.
ERIC ROLPH photo
Julianna Mello, Olivia Neal, Lauren Clark, Skyla Lowery, Kai Spence and Drew Streb dance in “Here,” choreographed by Peter Richards.
Stites is artistic director of Dance West and a former company director of the Jefferson Dancers. During her annual visits to Seabury Hall from Portland, Ore., she spends an intensive week working with the students on what Ward describes as "demanding pieces that are very rhythmic."
The disco number fits in with the overall theme of the dance concert - the music of Earth Wind & Fire. A suite of dances will include one on each of the four levels of dance and ballet, with a finale that includes all four classes.
Andre Morissette will remount "Metropolis," his Hawaii State Choreographic Award-winning suite that takes a playful look at modern city life. The piece follows well-coiffed young urban professionals as they go about the business of waking, commuting, working, dating and dancing at an ever-increasing pace.
Morissette says the number is fun but challenging for the young dancers. "It's also a great learning tool because the dancers must be completely in sync with each other while dealing with lots of props," he says. With this year's wealth of male dancers, Morissette was able to incorporate two levels of dance into the piece, rather than the usual single level.
Ward, in turn, will bring back his Hawaii State Choreographic Award-winning piece: "Swing Low Suite" - a series of short dances to Negro spirituals sung by actor, singer and activist Paul Robeson. "The students responded enthusiastically to learning about this important figure and what he went through in the '30s, '40s and '50s," Ward says, "as well as to the gospel and slave songs they are dancing to."
Other highlights will include new ballet pieces by ballet mistress Barry Jones; student-created choreography; and a postmodern dance on an Ella Fitzgerald standard by guest artist Peter Richards, a dancer/videographer from New York.
Richards worked with six of the top level students to create a piece that combines "pedestrian movement, opaque facial expressions, quirky gear changes, and asides to the audience," according to Ward. "It's very different for them," he says.
And with seven male dancers, it promises to be a very different Dance Showcase altogether.
* Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 25; 3 p.m. Sunday, April 26; 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, May 1 and 2; and 3 p.m. Sunday, May 3; at the Seabury Hall Performance Studio. Tickets are $11 for adults, $9 for seniors, $5 for students. For reservations and information, call 573-1257.
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The Baldwin High School Performing Arts Learning Center and the Baldwin Theatre Guild present "Guys and Dolls," directed by Linda Carnevale. (See review)
Director David Johnston paints a poignant picture of the Depression with the Maui Academy of Performing Arts production of "The Grapes of Wrath." The play wraps up its run this weekend at Steppingstone Playhouse at Queen Ka'ahumanu Center. Based on John Steinbeck's epic novel and adapted by Frank Galati, the inspiring story of human dignity and the ability to survive, even in the most dire circumstances, holds lessons for us today. Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $16; available at the mall's customer service kiosk, by calling 244-8760, or online at www.mauiacademy.org.
Vincent Linares and Moses Goods delve into Hawaiian history with two different stories of two different men - one an alii and one the son of a Belgian farmer - who each helped shape Hawaiian history. Goods performs "The Legend of Kaulula'au" by Keali'iwahine Hokoana, a Hawaiian tale of a noble boy who faces the spirits of Lanai. Linares performs "Damien" by Aldyth Morris, following the life of Molokai priest Father Damien de Veuster, who will be canonized by the Vatican this year. The actors present three shows of "Two Men: Two Hawaiian Destinies" at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, and 2 and 7 p.m. Sunday, at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center's McCoy Studio Theater. A "talk story" session with the actors and playwright Hokoana follows the show. Tickets are $25 for adults, $15 for seniors and students. A portion of the proceeds benefits the Maui Food Bank.
Actor, writer and entrepreneur Wally Amos narrates a concert of hope and harmony at 4:30 p.m. Sunday at the MACC's Castle Theater. More than 125 community members will take part in the Maui Choral Arts production of "Music & Harmony in Paradise," including singers from the Maui Concert, Maui Youth and Maui Community College choruses directed by Celia Canty, together with the 50-piece Maui Community Band conducted by Lisa Owen. The concert celebrates Abraham Lincoln's 200th birthday, a presidential inauguration, and other joyful themes of 2009. "Concert Conversations" begins at 3:30 p.m. Tickets are $12, $22 and $32, with a discount for seniors, children and students.
Applicable fees are added to tickets for all MACC shows, available at the MACC box office, 242-7469 or online at www.mauiarts.org.
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MAPA will hold auditions from 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday forits Sum'R Musical Theatre Camp. The camp is for students entering grades 9 and up, and culminates in the production of apopular musical(title TBA). No experience is necessary. On Saturday, April 25, from 4 to 6 p.m., MAPA invites intermediate/advanced dancers and choreographers age 11 and older to audition for Out of Bounds, a MAPA dance intensive culminating in a video shoot. All auditions will be held at the MAPA studios, 2027 Main St. in Wailuku (entrance off Market Street). No appointments are necessary. For details, visit www.mauiacademy.org or call Willow at 244-8760.
* Contact Sky Barnhart at email@example.com.