Dance students to showcase routines tonight

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Tickets are $5 at the door; ‘Works in Progress’ previews spring performances.



By Alison Graef

The dance program will present its annual Works in Progress dance show at 7:30 p.m. today in the auditorium of McAllister Fine Arts Center.

George Ann Simpson, dance coordinator and professor, said all dance classes participate in the show, creating a performance of ballet, jazz, modern, improvisational and lyrical routines. Simpson said close to 100 dancers will participate and there will be 10 numbers, and she expects the show to last 45 minutes to an hour.

“It’s a great learning opportunity for our students, and it’s a goal for them to work toward at the end of the semester,” Simpson said.

Simpson said the show is a preview of the May 5 Spring Show. The performers will wear all black rather than costumes. In the spring, returning students will continue to work on their routines and perform them again in full costume at the Spring Show.

“For the Spring Show, we keep what we have now and then add the next semester’s work,” Simpson said.

Additional spring classes — tap dance, flamenco and Bollywood — will also participate in the Spring Show.

Admission is $5 at the door and free for children 5 and under. Simpson said all funds raised from the show are used to send students in the dance club to workshops. The next workshop is a three-day event at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, where club members will take classes and perform. Funds raised from the Spring Show are used for department scholarships.

Works in Progress is for new and experienced dancers alike.

Environmental science sophomore Brian Garner, who had never taken dance lessons before this semester, took Jazz Dance this fall. Garner said he decided to take dance as a means of cross training.

“If you have CrossFit for the body, you can do cross training for the mind — that’s my philosophy,” Garner said. “My studies have gotten more clarity, my memory has gotten better. I’m definitely happier.”

Garner said he is mentally preparing himself to perform in front of an audience, as well as practicing by himself to know his steps by heart.

Dance sophomore Cassandra Commerford has been dancing for 14 years. This fall she took Dance Improvisation and Dance Performance.

Commerford said because she has years of experience behind her, she feels relaxed and prepared for the show this weekend.

“Since I’ve been dancing for a while, it’s a lot easier to memorize and know your steps rather than if you just started,” Commerford said.

Commerford, who has performed in previous Works in Progress shows, said the show is a unique showcase of students and routines that truly are still “works in progress.”

“It’s different because it’s just a preview for the spring performance. … It’s more intimate, more personal, more about the dancer rather than a show for the audience,” Commerford said. “You can see more of the dancers’ personalities and beliefs or what they’re going through.”

To learn more, call the fine arts department at 210-486-0258


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