Put some step in your Spring

Cory Finkbeiner

Grand Valley State University’s Sean T. Bible will lead an ensemble cast of choreographers from around the country in the free ballet event the Spring Dance Concert.

Artistic director Bible will showcase a classically-grounded, contemporary-inspired night of performances, while also extending GVSU relations to New York and Texas.

Bible has been successful in forming a connection between GVSU and Grand Rapids dance scenes, most recently choreographing for the Grand Rapids Ballet using and all-GVSU student cast. Bible was given the choice to use GR Ballet performers, but he chose to taken advantage of a group he’s become quite confident in.

“I know that some of our dancers dance at a professional level while they’re here right now,” he said.

The Spring Dance Concert will be testament to the level of innovation Bible demands and receives from his dancers. He’s never satisfied with movement without purpose, and the performance he creates is always infused with elements aimed toward expanding dance beyond its physical form.

“We are challenging our dancers in ways that many dancers are not challenged,” Bible said. “The experience at the college level is for students to gain exposure to performers around the world… We want our students to be just as good with ballet as they are in contemporary dance.”

This notion explains Bible’s choice in guest choreographers, among them Ana Liceica of American Ballet Theater, a company Bible said is the most famous in the world.

Liceica is choreographing “Swan Lake”, what will be the most classically adhered of the night. Although Bible said “Swan Lake” will not contain much contemporary modification, it’s a piece every dancer should performer.

“We’re trying to emulate the aesthetic that was created in the 1800s,” Bible said.

Jenny Showalter, artistic director with Treeline Dance Works, will choreograph the piece “Section 1: In or Out of Two”.

Showalter practices a contemporary dance style called release technique, something Bible also utilizes in his performances.

“This is going to be the kind of technique you’re not used to seeing,” Bible said. “It’s the most updated form of contemporary music we could find in New York.”

Genevieve Durham DeCesaro, head of dance at Texas Tech University, will choreograph “We are All on Fire,” a piece that splits the difference between the classical purity of “Swan Lake” and the futuristic feel of the release technique.

“It’s a little more palatable for the audience,” Bible said.

As with any Bible-inspired event, one can expect impeccable dance technique and contemporary risks. A Bible performance is rarely just dance.

“We do have avid media elements in it,” Bible said. “We’re not just throwing people up there and saying ‘move.’”

The Spring Dance Concert is today and April 20 at 8 p.m. in the Louis Armstrong Theater. The event is free.

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