InSync Dance Theatre, Michigan's only professional tap and jazz company, is scheduled to present its annual concert at Hope College on Friday and Saturday, Jan. 20-21, at 8 p.m. at the Knickerbocker Theatre in downtown Holland.
The company, an affiliate of the department of dance at Hope College, will present a diverse program including a new piece by Sharon Wong of the jazz faculty at New York City's Ailey School. Intricate and technically demanding, Wong's "Just a Mood" tempestuously explores Michael Jackson's "Smooth Criminal" and showcases the company's technique and physical prowess. Wong's work is supported with a grant from the Hope College Patrons for the Arts.
Ray Tadio of the Hope dance faculty, co-artistic director of the company, blends his expertise in Philippine folk dance, ballet, Horton jazz and African dance into a work titled "Ti-Ka." Set in the Philippine Islands, the piece celebrates the strength of the Philippine women and is inspired by the strong women of Tadio's family. In addition, 2005 Hope graduate Mari Stuppy of Dowagiac will dance Tadio's 2003 work, "Joy!"Originally staged at Ailey/Fordham University, the work is a celebration of spiritual gratitude dedicated as an expression of love to Tadio's late father, Gaudencio.
Co-artistic director Rosanne Barton-DeVries, also a member of the Hope dance faculty, will stage "Words," a newly designed a cappella tap dance weaving together the rhythm of verbal syllables and the language of tap dance. In addition, Barton-DeVries will present "Blues on Tap,"a tap work responding to the visual jazz of artist Romare Bearden and performed to the music of Branford Marsalis. The company will premiere a tap duet by Barton-DeVries titled "The Road to Zion Sings!"Barton-DeVries will take the stage with Hope junior Jamie Klein of Aurora, Ill.
The company will also offer an encore performance of two excerpts from New York choreographer Nina Buisson's premiere work titled "Yulunga." Buisson's contemporary work explores mythical figures from the land and sea, and includes images of sea creatures and other fantastical figures. The work was commissioned last year through a grant from the Hope College Patrons for the Arts.
Other works in the program include "Summertime,"a tap solo choreographed and danced senior Peter Hammer of Laurel, Mont., who is a dance major and a Chicago Tap Theatre apprentice; "A Fellow and His Gal," a tap duet reminiscent of the flapper age, a repertory work originally by Niagara University's Terri Filips; "Strange Fruit"a response to the African-American experience of slavery choreographed and danced by senior Sona Smith of Chicago, Ill.; and "Cell Block Tango,"choreographed by juniors Amanda Piagnarelli of Willowbrook, Ill., and Missy Rossi of Maple Grove, Minn., as an interpretation of the musical "Chicago." Finally, Hope College's student company, Hip-Hop Anonymous,will perform as guests of InSync Dance Theatre.
The concert will conclude with dancers and audience members alike joining together to dance the "Shim Sham." The company notes that tap shoes are welcome, but not required.
Tickets for the concert will be available at the Knickerbocker Theatre box office one hour before show time, with the house opening at 7:15 p.m. Admission is $7 for regular admission and $5 for students, with admission free for children under 12. The Knickerbocker Theatre is located at 86 E. 8th St.
InSync Dance Theatre's performance in Holland will be followed by a performance in Traverse City two weeks later. The company will join Michigan Dance Collective for a shared concert on Saturday, Feb. 4, at 7:30 p.m. at the City Opera House in Traverse City. Additional information about the Traverse City concert may be obtained by calling the Michigan Dance Collective office at (231) 409-0184.