Get your gala on

By David Rauch

The NIU School of Dance is celebrating its 25th anniversary and tickets are still available.

Curtain times for the concert are 7:30 p.m. today, Friday and Saturday. Sunday’s concert starts at 2 p.m. Each show lasts for about two and a half hours. All of the performances will be at the O’Connell Theater in the Stevens Building.

The dance gala has been organized to commemorate the anniversary and to honor Lora Broday, the school’s first dance performance graduate.

“To commemorate the department’s accomplishments, we’re bringing back some of our distinguished alumni to add to the show,” said Randall Newsom, associate professor of dance coordinator.

The show’s opening piece features 60 dancers.

“The opening piece, entitled ‘Ritual,’ demonstrates the exercises practiced by the dance students,” Newsom said.

A six-minute presentation, “Ritual” offers a brief overview of exercises concerning ballet, post-modernism, the Horton Method and the Graham Method.

“These are motions we go through every class and practice,” sophomore dance major Britni Miller said.

Each year, the students of the theater and dance department decide what goes into the production.

“This year’s concert is a mixed bag of modern dance and Spanish dance,” said Karen Williamson, one of the heads of the dance concert. “Each semester it changes.”

The dance program teaches ballet and modern techniques that provide numerous opportunity in 17 technique classes dance majors are required to take. The training prepares dancers for original works by NIU faculty and master works from the standard repertoire, which will be part of the anniversary gala dance concert.

The concert is one of many main-stage dance performances each year. The department has concerts in the fall and spring semesters of each year.

Since 1979, the dance department has produced many well-known alumni in some of the most distinguished dance teams in the country.

“Alumnus Sandra Kaufmann has performed in the Martha Graham Dance Company, the first and most celebrated dance company in the world,” Newsom said.