Special Note to the SF College Community: There is a matinee of “Elements of Style” at 2 p.m. Friday, April 10, 2015. Please take advantage of this special day and time to attend if you can!
From modern dance to hip-hop and from musical theater to a rock ballet, different dance genres will be featured when the Dance Theatre of Santa Fe (DTSF) performs “Elements of Style” Friday-Saturday, April 10-11, 2015. Friday performances are at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. and the Saturday performance is at 7:30 p.m. in the Fine Arts Hall at the Santa Fe College Northwest Campus, 3000 NW 83 Street, Gainesville.
Tickets are $15 main floor and $12 balcony for adults; $9 for seniors, children and University of Florida students; and free for Santa Fe College faculty, staff and students with college identification cards. For ticket information, call the Box Office at 352-395-4181 or visit the Fine Arts ticket website at:
“These performances reflect the instruction in different dance styles that the college offers and reveal a mix of all the different experiences the students have had this year,” explained Dance Professor Sarah Harkness-Sebastian. “There is a lot of variety, both in the choreographers and the range of different dance styles.”
Dance professors Melissa Brenner and Sarah Harkness-Sebastian gained inspiration outside the studio and collaborated with other professionals to create new works for this year’s performance.
Brenner choreographed “The Moon Phase,” which she describes as an expansion of her piece “Illume” that DTSF has previously performed. “I’m thinking of ‘Illume’ as a trilogy and I was inspired by a visit to our planetarium,” she said. “We’ve worked with James Albury from the planetarium to have moving images of the moon that will be projected during the performance.” Gainesville Orchestra conductor Evans Haile will provide the live musical accompaniment.
Harkness-Sebastian was inspired to create her work, “Closer Apart,” by a visit to La Sagrada Familia Basilica, a UNESCO World Heritage Site designed by architect Antoni Gaudi, in Barcelona. “This is Gaudi’s master work,” she explained, “and both a place of worship and a tourist attraction. I was struck by the cyclical process of how people were weaving in and out of the columns and each other and how they were in their own bubbles yet having a common experience. I chose music by Philip Glass because it’s a perfect reflection of this cyclical process, which is mirrored in the process of creating the dance.”
Music Professor Mitch McKay collaborated with Harkness-Sebastian on a Spanish dance for which he will provide piano accompaniment. “This has been a great opportunity for our students to see how dancers and musicians work together to create a new work from scratch,” Harkness-Sebastian explained. “There are elements of world dance here and it’s a teaser for our upcoming evening of Spanish dance and music.”
To close the show, Brenner collaborated with Fine Arts Department Chairperson and Dance Professor Alora Haynes to create a rock ballet to the music of Queen. “We used six different songs and there might even be a mini rock-and-roll light show—and yes, the dancers are wearing tutus!” Brenner exclaimed. “We work very closely with our lighting designer, Liz Reynolds, and the students can see how her work fits into the process of staging a performance.”
“Elements of Style” will also feature works from SF scholarship alumnus Jerel Hercules, an African dance choreographed by Dance Professor Mohammed DaCosta, a remix of the choreography for “West Side Story,” and an excerpt from “Colors of Soul” guest choreographed by Marion Caffey, producer of Amateur Night at the Apollo in New York City.
“The whole idea of ‘Elements of Style’ is to give students the experience of what it’s like to be in a professional dance company,” Brenner explained. “Almost all of these dances have a huge cast—there are 53 members of DTSF—so students must do quick costume changes. They are learning how to be professional performers, how to move from one dance to another and how to work with different choreographers. We treat them like professionals and they are professionals by the end of the process. We’re preparing them for a career by giving them an introduction to what it’s like to be in a repertory company.”
For more information about “Elements of Style,” call Melissa Brenner at 352-395-4188. For more information about the SF College Fine Arts Department or Fine Arts Hall, call Alora Haynes at 352-395-5296.