HOLLAND — The elements get physical in “Dance 45,” the annual presentation of dance works choreographed and designed by the Hope College dance faculty and guest artists.
The 2019 production opened Friday at the Knickerbocker Theatre in downtown Holland. Remaining performances are Saturday, March 2 and March 7-9.
Tickets to “Dance 45” can be purchased online, in person at the Hope College Ticket Office, or at the door on the evening of the performances. Tickets are $10 for adults, $7 for senior citizens, and $5 for children.
The concert culminates an intense rehearsal process for more than 50 student performers. An additional 20 students make up the backstage crews, assisting with lighting, sound, costuming and stage management.
Within the dance department, the concert is affectionately called Dance X.
This year the title “Dance 45” is significant: It represents 45 years of the Hope dance department going strong, educating, training and cultivating the creativity of young artists, while maintaining the highest level of artistry for the stage.
Choreography is the dance department’s primary means of scholarship, so the works produced are the artistic equivalence of scholarly publication. Whether producing locally, nationally or internationally, each choreographer spends countless hours in research and rehearsal.
With a throughline response to the elements of wind, water, fire and earth, the subject matter of individual works ranges from lighthearted to contemplative, from carefree communal celebration to mourning, oppression and suffering. In 2013, the dance department began the practice of hiring an esteemed, professional artist-educator to offer peer review for Dance X.
Reviewing this year’s concert is Paul Abrahamson, director of the Chicago Ballet Center. Abrahamson will evaluate choreography based not only on its compositional design and overall statement (use of space, dynamic range, creativity and integrity of the movement), but also on how the work itself compares to other works presented inside and outside of academia.
With a throughline response to the elements of wind, water, fire and earth, the subject matter of individual works ranges from lighthearted to contemplative, from carefree communal celebration to mourning, oppression and suffering.
Each work falls within the styles of ballet, hip hop, jazz and contemporary, and each is as different as the choreographers creating them. This year’s choreographers include faculty members Nicole Flinn, Crystal Frazier, Linda Graham, Julie Powell and Angela Yetzke, along with guest artists Richard Rivera of New York and Sharon Wong of Florida.
Dance X (45) audiences should expect surprises from concert designers Erik Alberg and Darlene Veenstra. (Hint: If you sit in the front row, bring an umbrella.)
This year’s concert is special one: It is the last hurrah of faculty member and former department chair Linda Graham who retires in May. Graham will present “Chair Study,” a crowd favorite first seen in 1989. In “Chair Study,” dancers contemplate the element of wood through crazy stunts and thought-provoking humanity in signature Graham style.