The Maggie Allesee Department of Theatre and Dance will celebrate 91 years with Wayne State at the annual Spring Dance Concert.
The concert will take place on Feb. 27 and 28 at 7:30 p.m. in the Bonstelle Theatre. Tickets are $17 for students and $24 for adults.
Instructors focused on incorporating different styles of dance into the concert, assistant professor RAS Mikey Courtney said.
“We are focused on understanding where commercial dance falls into the training of the dancers here at the university,” he said. “We have been very adamant about bringing in choreographers that focus on commercial styles.”
The dance program prides itself on having a traditional and conservatory training style, Hannah Rittmueller said, a senior dance major and student choreographer. However, this changed starting with last year’s Spring Dance Concert.
“It was last concert where we really began to experiment with adding more styles and variety to our shows,” she said. “I witnessed a new wave of versatility and energy rise as a result of the concert.”
Guest artists and WSU dancers will incorporate many different styles at the concert including contemporary ballet, jazz choreography and West African dance among others, co-artistic director Hannah Andersen said.
One thing that separates WSU from other programs are the number of guest artists commissioned to work with the program, she said.
“Meg Paul, who is the director of dance here does an excellent job of choosing guest artists, so the students get that experience that they are not typically used to,” Andersen said.
Four guest artists will be showcasing different styles of dance during their performances. LA-based dancer and educator Marc Spaulding, WSU Alumna Della Hamby, Motor City Choreography Collective founder Jill Cassidy and Hardcore Detroit founder Haleem “Stringz” Ar-Rasheed.
Rittmueller enjoyed working with Ar-Rasheed on a piece that uses the Detroit dance style called Jit, she said.
“Stringz has done a wonderful job providing us with the fundamentals while simultaneously making sure we are having fun,” she said.
To Sangana and Dance Workshop, two of WSU’s student dance companies, will be performing sections of the works they performed this season.
“The concert is full of high-energy numbers in a diverse array of styles,” Rittmueller said.
Preparing for the Spring Dance Concert is not always easy for Rittmueller because the turnaround from the prior show to the concert is fast, she said. Preparation for the concert started at the beginning of the winter semester, with acts being completed by the middle of February.
“Having these constraints has pushed me both as a dancer and choreographer, and I am thankful for the lessons I have learned as a result,” she said.
For tickets and more information on the concert visit https://www.theatreanddanceatwayne.com/springdanceconcert-2020/