Michigan Dance Day comes to GV

Students in Advanced Modern Dance use class time to ensure a perfect routine

Nicki Lamson

Students in Advanced Modern Dance use class time to ensure a perfect routine

Elijah Brumback

Grand Valley State University will host Michigan Dance Day for the first time ever this Saturday.

Each year, one of Michigan’s universities and the Michigan Dance Council, a governing body of dance educators, holds Michigan Dance Day.

“It’s about making dance approachable and reachable in the state,” said GVSU dance professor and Michigan Dance Council board member Shawn Bible. “It doesn’t matter from what background or financial situation people come from.”

The event is a full day’s worth of dance classes and performances culminating in an award gala and concert that will be open to the public. Bible said GVSU’s ability to attract the event this year bodes well for the university.

“It’s important for GVSU because Michigan Dance Day is not traditionally held in on the west side of the state.” he said. “So there is little access to this event because of travel and transportation. It is also great exposure for GVSU and the dance program.”

Classes run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Students can take classes in a variety of different genres, including modern, ballet, point, jazz, contemporary and yoga.

The afternoon will conclude with a concert gala choreography competition and performance by the GVSU dance ensemble, who will perform“BLUE AIR” with choreography by Bible.

“It’s the only competition like it in the state,” Bible said. “We will be taking submissions from choreographers all over the state and it’s not limited to just university entries.”

Those competing will be vying to win the coveted Maggie Allesee New Choreography Award. Six to eight entries will be chosen to perform, and a panel of selected judges will decide the winner, who will receive an undetermined cash prize numbering in the thousands of dollars.

“It’s going to be a very interesting performance,” Bible said. “Something people have probably never seen before.”

Bible said the day is dedicated to bringing together an elite group of master dance teachers in the state, allowing university and high school students the opportunity to be exposed to all forms of dance.

“I’ve also built in a time for auditions for the dance program here as well,” Bible said. “It’s a fantastic recruiting tool.”

Bible, contemporary jazz instructor Sarah Magoon and yoga ballet instructor Mary Lohman will round out the GVSU faculty that will help guide each class.

Other visiting professional instructors that will attend are Middle Eastern specialist Sabrina Merrill, jazz and ballroom specialist Kellie Lajiness and Oakland University modern dance faculty Alison Woerner.

Tickets are $10 per class and $10 for the afternoon performance, which will be held at 3:30 in the Louis Armstrong Theater.

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