Students dance through Spain

By Amy Geldean

DeKALB — Dance students across campus invite audience members to their spring showcase where they hope to take viewers deep into Spain to experience Spanish culture and dance traditions, all achieved through their art.

The Spring 2018 Dance Concert will run Thursday, April 26 to Sunday, April 29 at Huntley Middle School Auditorium, 1515 S. Fourth St., for four nights of Spanish-inspired dance. Tickets can be purchased from the NIU website, ranging in price from $6 to $17. There will also be matinee performances at Saturday and Sunday.

The concert will feature a variety of dance styles from classical ballet seen in shows like “Don Quixote” to modern dance routines featured in shows like “Bailes Mas Criados and Rivales.”

Judith Chitwood, School of Theatre and Dance professor, said the mix of styles will engage audience members from start to finish as her students show off their skills and passion. The event will feature current students, alumni of the dance program and faculty in one show to highlight the timeless teachings of the program.

“We run the full spectrum of dance based on Spanish dance,” Chitwood said. “It will be a very exciting and entertaining evening of dance.”

Chitwood said the range of different dances allows the dancers to expand their skills and show off a variety of talents, making it a special show for those involved. The showcase provides the dancers with an opportunity to step out of their comfort zone.

Amber Echols, senior dance performance major, said dancing inspires her and her fellow classmates because they have a chance to entertain and show the audience what they can do with their bodies. She said she enjoys being able to express herself through dance.

Echols said she always knew she wanted to dance, and now that she is pursuing her passion, she feels like the spring showcase is a time to continue to expand her knowledge in a unique way. She said sharing her art is important to her, and she hopes audience members appreciate the performers before them.

“I felt that when I was younger I always wanted to entertain, and I like entertaining the audience by dancing and telling stories through dance,” Echols said. “I felt challenged with a lot of the different dances, and that helped me grow as a dancer.”

Chitwood said the audience can expect to see a variety of styles in the performance, including contemporary ballet from “Carmen,” as well as several other feature dances from Spanish history.

“It pays tribute to a lot of the Spanish themes and concepts,” Joshua Francique, sophomore dance performance major, said. “It is just something that is not so traditional, so it is out of the comfort zone and is challenging to us as dancers.”

Francique said he also enjoys being able to touch on new techniques in this show, which he said brings something different to audiences. He said the culture the spring showcase produces should be something unlike anything else, and he hopes audiences truly experience Spanish culture.