Drama and danger, merriment and mercy, even biker babes and ballerinas will be found on stage at Ball State's University Theatre Nov. 29 through Dec. 2. at the Ball State Dance Company production, "Dance! Dance! Dance!"
"Every piece will be interesting and something different," said Artistic Director Lou Ann Young. "The audience will get to see that dance is really about joy or making statements."
Young has been working with the 27 dancers since the beginning of the semester to prepare for the fall show. The dance production features 10 original pieces choreographed by guest choreographers, faculty and students. Only one of the pieces has been seen on campus before. "Working Routines" by Kennet Oberly, a former dancer with Germany's Stuttgart Ballet and Finnish National Ballet, will open the show with ragtime reminiscence.
"We usually do a Christmas theme for the fall show," said Young. "But in this time and age, we need to be able to laugh and just be entertained. We need something to bring people together and have a feeling of deviation from the norm. This show does that."
The show's pieces range from ethnic to tragedy. "Croatia" is a foot-stomping, peppy piece choreographed by Gregory Lund. It features the dancers in ethnic costume doing traditional Croatian dances to lifting, upbeat music. In this piece, the dancers do something truly unusual for a dance company: They sing Croatian songs.
Another piece with an ethnic feel features African dance styles. "It's totally different," Young said of Katie Teuchtler's "Uplift and Empower." The quick, hard, feel-it-in-your-chest drumbeats make this modern piece a real attention getter.
Along with the modern and ethnic dances the company will also perform more classical work. "Red Shoes" choreographed by Young is a highlight for many dancers.
"I get to be evil," said senior dance major Kathryn McGrath. She will play dual roles in this piece including an evil sorcerer.
The lead role in "Red Shoes" belongs to veteran dancer Erin Walsh. She is a Ball State senior in her fourth year with the company. Her title character, simply called "Girl," obtains a special pair of red ballet shoes that lead to drama and tragedy.
From tragedy the dancers take the audience through a narrative lesson on riding a motorcycle. This five-section piece will go from ballet to "heavy thrashing with body slamming," Walsh said. "Its fun and funny, really cute."
Shamura Calvin is one dancer who will perform in different pieces doing various types of dances throughout the show including Pointe ballet and jazz.
"There are so many different varieties and new dances we're going to showcase this year," Calvin said. "I think the audience will really appreciate it."
The highlight of the show for Calvin also promises to be an audience favorite. "The Prey" choreographed by Michael Worcel will close the show.
Young said she chose this piece to close because of its unique choreography. "I think it is really dynamic," she said.
Calvin is the star of "The Prey" and will play the predator queen. "I get to be animalistic and subhuman," Calvin Said. "I am in command and tell them when they can eat someone. This is a really exciting piece."
Senior dance major Diane Mueller summed up the event with a request. "I think people who haven't been to a show like this simply don't understand it. In a dance concert, each dance is a separate story and tone. People should come out and see what it's like."