Dance showcase keeps art alive

Keeping Dance Alive! will not only have audience members cheering for talented local dancers and choreographers, but it might just inspire them to start dancing too.

The performance, presented by Chico Performances and Friends of Chico Community Ballet, will be held at 7:30 p.m. March 7 and at 2 p.m. March 8 in Laxson Auditorium.

Among the diverse dance pieces featured, Full Force Dance Company will perform a hip-hop number inspired by Wes Craven’s “Scream,” choreographed by Genevieve Pena, founder of the dance company.

The 30 dancers clad in fake blood, Ghostface T-shirts, hoodies, red socks and black Converse shoes will perform a hard-hitting routine that features audio excerpts from the movie.

Other pieces featured in the first act include a hard-and-soft-shoe Irish courtship dance choreographed by Maria Oliver of Oliver Academy of Irish Dance, a belly dance number choreographed by Jenny Funk of tribal belly dance troupe Allegory and a musical theater piece to “One” from “A Chorus Line,” choreographed by Melinda Buzan from Chico Community Ballet.

The second act of the show is a contemporary ballet piece based on Sergei Prokofiev’s play “Peter and the Wolf,” directed by Deborah Jorritsma, artistic director of Chico Community Ballet.

The company of 36 dancers, ages 6-20, will perform a narrative piece that represents animal and human characters and features narration by David Bowie.

Danielle DiPietro, a Chico Community Ballet choreographer who specializes in ballet, tap, jazz and African dance, choreographed and will be dancing in an African-Brazilian piece called “Ascension.”

Keeping Dance Alive! is eclectic in nature and features many styles of dance, including some that audience members might not have seen before, DiPietro said.

“I think that’s what’s so cool about this show,” she said. “And it might inspire people to want to dance more.”

Amber English, a junior kinesiology major at Chico State, has been dancing for 16 years and will be dancing in classical ballet, modern, tap and musical theater numbers, as well as the “Peter and the Wolf” piece. She dances with Chico Community Ballet, Full Force Dance Company and Chico State’s student-run dance club, Momentum.

The show is very upbeat this year and will keep audience members entertained, English said.

“It really shows not just the technique but how fun dance can be,” she said. “And I think it’ll make a lot of people want to dance themselves.”

Ashiah Scharaga can be reached at [email protected] or @AshiahD on Twitter.