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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    UA School of Dance to host 22nd annual jazz dance showcase

    After weeks of rigorous preparations and rehearsals, the UA School of Dance is ready to open its doors to dancers from all over the world for its 22nd annual Arizona Jazz Dance Showcase.

    Beginning this Friday, over 900 dancers will make the journey to Tucson to take part in the school’s master classes and shows. The event will incorporate various guest and in-house choreographers and center around jazz, ballet, and modern dance, said Michael Williams, UA a jazz dance professor and director of the Arizona Jazz Dance Showcase.

    “The University of Arizona School of Dance is one of the very few schools in the nation that has a triple-track program where we have ballet, modern and jazz even emphasis in our bachelor of fine arts program,” said Sam Watson, another jazz dance professor. “It gives exposure for the School of Dance and it shows how special we are and what we do as opposed to other programs that are of our caliber across the nation.”

    The school will welcome dancers from all over the state, Canada, Germany and Switzerland. They will also feature guest choreographers such as renowned dancer and choreographer Joe Tremaine of Tremaine Dance Conventions and Competitions, Tony Award winning dancer and So You Think You Can Dance choreographer Joey Dowling, and Mitzi Hamilton of the original “A Chorus Line” cast, Williams said.

    “They like to bring in faculty from other schools and professional working choreographers that we get to work with and I really like that it exposes a wide variety of people to our program,” said senior dance major, Gregory Liles. “Sometimes it’s hard for UA dance to get their name out there when we’re not exactly in New York or on the East Coast where a majority of professional dance is happening.”

    The festival will focus on learning from master classes, but will also provide the School of Dance with an opportunity to recruit high school seniors that attend the showcase. Visiting students who participate will be exposed to UA faculty and will be able to audition for a spot in the highly competitive program while the current dancers will gain important recognition from visiting instructors, Williams said.

    “Every year I have a different roster of highly respected professionals in dance and so they get to know who we are,” Williams said. “Joe Tremaine actually sees 30,000 dancers per year in his workshops. At his workshops, when people ask him about dance programs that he would recommend, we’re one of them.”

    The weekend will be filled with master classes, UA faculty-hosted classes, and two performances exclusive to Arizona Jazz Dance Showcase participants, one hosted by UA dancers and the other an invitational for visitors. UA dancers will be able to showcase their talents while running a large festival that brings in revenue for the school’s production budget, Watson said.

    “I really like the exposure and the opportunity to get to meet other people,” Liles said. “We get to perform and show them what UA Dance is all about.”

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