Steamboat Dance Theatre entertains audiences this weekend |

Steamboat Dance Theatre entertains audiences this weekend

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What: 43rd annual Dance Theatre

When: 7 p.m. Thursday, 7 p.m. Friday and 12:30 and 7 p.m. Saturday

Where: Steamboat Springs High School auditorium

— It was evident at Monday night’s dress rehearsal that Steamboat Dance Theatre is more than just performers practicing to put on a production — it’s a family that welcomes dancers of all abilities and genres.

“It’s like having a second family,” said Gina Toothaker. “I never grew up dancing as a kid, and when I started dancing with Dance Theatre at 19, it gave me an opportunity for that creative outlet that I hadn’t had before.”

Expression without words is seen in the form of hip-hop, modern, retro jazz, hoop, Hawaiian, tap, waltz, salsa, Irish dancing, jazz funk, African hip-hop, belly dancing and aerial.

Choreographers’ visions will come to life through 16 dance pieces that will be performed at 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday in the Steamboat Springs High School auditorium. There will be a matinee performance at 12:30 p.m. Saturday followed by a 7 p.m. show.

Since 2008, Toothaker has been a choreographer, brainstorming ideas in a three-foot by three-foot space in front of mirror to see what works or what doesn’t.

“It’s actually an amazing process,” said Stephanie Kohlhardt, artistic director for Dance Theatre and choreographer for the “Mad Scientist” piece. “To hear about all of the other choreographers’ plans, and then to see it come to life on stage is just incredible.”

In its 43rd year, Steamboat Dance Theatre has come a long way. When it started in 1972, Toothaker said there were only five featured dancers.

“I remember doing smaller scale shows throughout the year at the Depot where one end was the stage and the other was the audience,” Toothaker said. “We used to get dressed in the basement because there were no dressing rooms. It was guys and girls in that dank, dark basement with the ghosts.”

The annual concert is the nonprofit’s largest revenue-generating event of the year. Proceeds go toward financial assistance for Routt County students who want to take dance classes, a biannual concert series featuring nationally recognized dance companies, workshops and master classes by guest artists.

“I think it gets better every year,” Kohlhardt said. “This year, we have so much talent it’s mind blowing. A lot of the pieces are theatrical, which is different and super entertaining.”

Those pieces include the “Mad Scientist” number, a “Grease”-inspired piece and a waltz with Disney characters.

“The greatest thing about it is definitely the camaraderie,” said Eric Einstein, who is performing in Steamboat Dance Theatre for the first time. “If you have a hard moment to figure out, you get to struggle through that and overcome it together with your group. It makes this more of team, and the learning experience of it all has definitely opened me up more. I’m doing it again next year for sure.”

For ticket information, visit

To reach Audrey Dwyer, call 970-871-4229, email or follow her on Twitter @Audrey_Dwyer1

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