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Department of Theatre and Dance Hosts Spring Appalachian Dance Ensemble, March 20–24

By Glenn Ramey

Appalachian State University’s Department of Theatre and Dance welcomes the first days of spring with its annual Spring Appalachian Dance Ensemble (SADE), showcasing the talent of students, faculty and guest artists. The show will take place in the Valborg Theatre on the university’s campus at 7 p.m. March 20–23 with a 2 p.m. matinee on March 24. Tickets are $10 for students and $17 for adults.

The mission of the Spring Appalachian Dane Ensemble is to showcase original works, and this year is no exception. The production will feature eight new pieces — four choreographed by students, three by faculty and one by guest artist Heike Salzer.

SADE coordinator and professor of dance studies Marianne Adams is excited about the diversity of dance styles in this year’s concert.

“Overall, the Appalachian Dance Ensemble has been a primarily modern dance ensemble. But in this particular show, I think it’s going to have quite a variety,” she said.

Featured works include a tap piece by assistant professor of dance studies Cara Hagen.

“[Cara] creates tap originally and more from its indigenous roots, and that makes for a very interesting, non-formulaic form of tap,” Adams commented.

 Associate professor of dance studies Sherone Price has also choreographed a piece, which will include his more advanced African dance studies students.

“He’s working with this idea of gendering and the ways that we speak about our gender and our preferences, so I think that should be an interesting piece that will blend African and modern styles but will also have a social and political comment,” Adams remarked.

In addition, there will be work by dance studies adjunct faculty member Chris Yon, whose tongue-in-cheek sense of humor will come across in his modern dance and music selections. Audiences can also expect to see a thoughtful piece by senior dance studies major Juliet Irving from Batesburg, South Carolina, about the effect of Alzheimer’s on movement.

Guest artist Heike Salzer, senior lecturer of dance professional practice from Roehampton University in London, has set original work on Appalachian’s students for the concert as part of a week-long residency.

“I’m really interested in working with the dancers together to develop material, to let the work evolve through the communication that we have with each other in the time that we spend together in the studio,” she remarked on her experience here.

This work has culminated in “Splitsville,” a piece in which “we reflect on the shattered fragments that once stood firm and wonder what the future may hold.” 

Adams wants audiences to know that SADE is a fun event for the entire family. With quick-moving dances and a run-time of an hour and a half to two hours, “it’s a nice format for younger audiences to come and see dance,” she said. 

SADE will be performed in the Valborg Theatre on Appalachian’s campus, located at the north side of Chapell Wilson Hall on Howard Street in Boone. The theatre entrance faces the back of the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts on King Street. Parking is available after 5 p.m. on campus in faculty/staff lots and after 5:30 p.m. in the College Street parking deck near Belk Library and Information Commons. For information on purchasing tickets call the Schaefer Center box office toll free at (800) 841-2787, locally at (828) 262-4046, visit the box office in person, or go online at theschaefercenter.org/tickets.

About the Department of Theatre and Dance

The Department of Theatre and Dance is one of seven departments housed in Appalachian’s College of Fine and Applied Arts. Its mission is to facilitate transformative experiences for students and the public, which cultivate compassionate, creative and collaborative communities through theatre and dance. The department also offers coursework for integrated learning through the arts to the general university student population. Its dynamic co-curricular production program provides exemplary theatre and dance experiences to departmental students, the university community and the region.

About Appalachian State University

Appalachian State University, in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The transformational Appalachian experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and embrace diversity and difference. As one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina system, Appalachian enrolls about 19,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.