posted January 6, 2009

IDT Dance to Perform at Hope on Jan. 16-17

IDT, Michigan's only professional tap and jazz company, will present its annual concert at Hope College on Friday and Saturday, Jan. 16 and 17, at 8 p.m. at the Knickerbocker Theatre in downtown Holland.

Linda Graham, chair of the department of dance at Hope, has set two works on the ensemble.  "Snow Dogs," a whimsical tail-wagging, paw-scratching, study of the joyous and animated life of a dog, features choreography inspired by man's best friend.  Dancer-dogs lick paws, puppy-play and dog-walk through a day in the life of a dog.  According to Graham, the piece was not inspired by dogs, but by humans' shared characteristics with dogs - what she says is the recognition of the dog within the human, and the humanity within the dog. Graham's second work, "Just Dust," takes on a more serious tone as she explores the hard-edge of suicide.  The work applies the powerful, percussive language of jazz to explore questions of meaning "on the edge."  Set to the music of Tom Waits, the piece exemplifies the raw power of contemporary jazz dance.

Amanda Smith-Heynen, company co-director, is premiering her company piece "Kaleidoscope," inspired by the music of George Frideric Handel.  The piece is set in three movements as a playful celebration of dance using weaving patterns and syncopated rhythms.  Though utilizing balletic line, "Kaleidoscope" explores movement in a more contemporary tone, truly highlighting the artistic spirits of the IDT dancers.

Company Co-Director Rosanne Barton-DeVries is set to premiere two new works.  The first, set to Billy Joel's "Pressure," is a percussive study responding to the modern pace.

The company will also present "Winter Song," an orchestrated tap dance set to the lilting music of a solo piano composition.  Dancers move from chorus work to solo "improvography" as they comment on the winter of waiting.  This piece debuted at the University of Illinois Chicago on Saturday, Dec. 13.  Mark Yonally, director of Chicago Tap Theatre, has called the piece "exquisite" and "beautifully mature."

IDT will also feature an Irish Step piece choreographed by Don Smith, a contemporary of Honi Coles and nationally renowned tap master.  "The Blue Angel Jig" employs Celtic polyrhythms and catches the exuberance of a zesty jig.

Company members include Hope students Brianna Bedsole, Kristin Benner, Stephanie Brown, Colleen Creamer, Chelsea Harkelroad, Ryann Norris, Mary-Claire Penner, Briana Sosenheimer, Sarah Stern, Ashten Wallace, Rachel Whitney and Lacey Williams.  Local teacher Lindsay Lochner, who is a 2008 Hope graduate, will be performing with the ensemble as well.

The audience is invited to join in the Shim Sham at the conclusion of the concert, with no tap shoes required.  The Shim Sham is the national anthem of tap dance, and tap concerts around the world conclude with the piece, which dates from the 1920s.

In addition to the concerts, IDT, which is an affiliate company of Hope College, on Saturday, Jan. 17, will present its first annual repertory workshop for middle school and high school students who are interested in experiencing both traditional and cutting-edge choreography. Additional information may be obtained by contacting Rosanne Barton-DeVries at or by contacting the college's department of dance at (616) 395-7700.

Tickets for the dance performances are $7 for regular admission and $5 for children and senior citizens, and are available at the ticket office in the main lobby of the DeVos Fieldhouse.  The ticket office is open weekdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and can be called at (616) 395-7890.

The DeVos Fieldhouse is located at 222 Fairbanks Ave., between Ninth and 11th streets. The Knickerbocker Theatre is located in downtown Holland at 86 E. Eighth St.