More than 60 dance students will perform a variety of dance styles in original choreography by faculty members of the California State University, Dominguez Hills Department of Theatre Arts and Dance—and two guest artists— during the “Dancers Without Borders” concert on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 19 and 20, at 8 p.m. in the University Theatre.
Dance program coordinator and assistant professor of dance Doris Ressl and dance lecturer Michelle Funderburk will present two new modern works with water themes. “River Currents” by Funderburk is a fast-paced athletic dance, while Ressl’s “Border Crossing” deals with the breaking down of borders in the spirit of peace and acceptance.
Dance lecturer Elissa Kyriacou will showcase a new, colorful Middle Eastern dance, “The Dream,” and Jeffrey Hendrix, in his first semester as a member of the dance program faculty, will present a sizzling salsa routine, “Baila Mi Piano.”
Guest choreographer Beverly Bautista will blend a classical look with hip-hop choreography in “Instinctive Cadence,” a dance she describes as purposefully detailed. Well versed in contemporary, street, lyrical, ballet, Hawaiian, and Tahitian styles of dance, Bautista trains in North Hollywood at the Debbie Reynolds Studio and at the Millennium Dance Complex, and is a member of “Essence Ladies,” a hip-hop performance group.
Guest artist Leanne Vecchione will present “Pay it Forward,” a lyrical choreography piece which she says is a melding of dance genres.
“Lyrical choreography has become its own genre in the last couple of years thanks to ‘So You Think You Can Dance,’” said Vecchione, who has been formally trained in all three of the dance genres that make up lyrical dance. “The movement has ballet, jazz and modern fused together. Ballet is the foundation—you need to point your feet, stretch your legs and rotate [the hips outward] when appropriate. Modern provides the release in the upper torso, some turned-in positions, and the expression of emotions in the movements. Jazz brings a bit of funkiness and fun to it.”
Vecchione was assistant director and principle dancer for the American National Ballet and has performed principle roles for Minnesota Ballet in classics such as “Nutcracker,” “Giselle,” and “Don Quixote.” While in Minnesota, she also danced for Ressl’s non-profit dance company, Ressl Dance!.
The idea for guest choreographers came from Ressl, who is the artistic director of “Dancers Without Borders.”
“I knew the two choreographers and thought it would be a great opportunity for our students to work on hip-hop with a professional who works in the business, and with a former ballet dancer,” said Ressl. “Since all of the choreography is [created] by professionals, we felt the dancers would be pushed outside of their comfort zone to [perform] new and challenging choreography.”
Also breaking borders, of sorts, are the concert’s innovative stage sets and props.
“My dance will have water on the stage, real water—a river, along with video projections.” said Ressl. “And Elissa is creating exciting dances with swords, canes, zills [finger cymbals used in Middle Eastern dance], fans, and wings.
Tickets are $12 for general admission, and $10 for students and seniors. Group rates are available. For more ticket information and to purchase tickets online, click here. For other payment options, call the University Box Office at (310) 243-3589.
For more information about “Dancers Without Borders” or the CSU Dominguez Hills Theatre Arts and Dance program, contact the department office at (310) 243-3588 or click here.