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UW Snowy Range Dance Festival Sets 20th Anniversary Performances

July 14, 2015
male and female ballet dancers against a dark background, holding hands while dancing
The renowned Joffrey Ballet will perform during the Gala concert Saturday, July 25, in the UW College of Arts and Sciences auditorium. (Francette Levieux)

The University of Wyoming’s Snowy Range Summer Dance Festival will celebrate its 20th anniversary with public performances July 21 and 25.

Festival students will share dances they have learned at their schools or studios during the free Student Showcase concert Tuesday, July 21, at 7 p.m. in the UW College of Arts and Sciences auditorium. The final Gala concert will be performed Saturday, July 25, at 4 p.m. in the Arts and Sciences auditorium. Tickets cost $12.50 for the public and $10.50 for students and senior citizens. Tickets are available at the Wyoming Union information desk, the Buchanan Center for the Performing Arts box office, or by calling (307) 766-6666.

The festival runs July 15-25, with participants taking daily classes in ballet, modern and jazz, with optional classes in tap, pointe, choreography and improvisation.

These performance opportunities are vital to providing students with professional level training and experience, says Annaliese Ptacek, a previous festival dancer and now scholarship intern.

“Getting to work closely with such amazing artists and perform in such a diverse showcase is a very rewarding experience,” Ptacek adds.

Festival faculty members are Keith Saunders (Dance Theatre of Harlem) and Susan Massey (University of Utah) for ballet; Jacob Mora (Moraporvida Contemporary Dance), General McArthur Hambric (West Virginia University) and Peter Pucci (Pilobolus) for modern and jazz; and Tony Waag (American Tap Dance Foundation) for tap.

“To study with teachers of the caliber of this faculty, students would typically have to travel to the East or West coasts,” says UW Department of Theatre and Dance Associate Professor Margaret Wilson, one of the festival directors. “The faculty members commit themselves to the students and the process of teaching, and the outcome is nothing short of amazing and inspiring for everyone involved.”

Additionally, the renowned Joffrey Ballet will be the resident company. Students will be able to take master classes from the company before seeing them perform in the final Gala concert.

The festival also celebrates the opening of new facilities in the performing arts center, including a brand new studio and a dance science room. The new dance studio will have enhanced audiovisual capabilities, and the Mains dance studio will have drapery and lighting installed so it also can function as a performance space.

The dance science room will be used for Pilates training and dance screening or consultations about technique enhancement. New accommodations also include equipment for strengthening and self-care.

“With additional space for training and dedicated space for addressing the health and well-being of dancers, the Department of Theatre and Dance will continue to grow and develop as a leading program in the region,” Wilson says.

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