24th annual, student-led Dance Showcase ‘Chromaticity’ opens Thursday
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The four producers of Steamboat Springs High School’s 24th annual Dance Showcase have been involved with the show for years, and they knew that this time around, they wanted to do something completely different.
Back in Spring 2019, the producers — Delaney Johnston, Liz Ruzicka, Leona Thurston and Maggie Miller — had settled on the show’s theme: “Chromaticity,” a dance tribute to color.
“In past years, there were a lot of the same type of dances without obvious emotion,” Thurston said. “We wanted to leave the audience feeling inspired and feeling like a story was told.”
“We also wanted to make it more kid-friendly, and a lot of kids understand color more than they would understand emotions in a dance,” Ruzicka said.
With the organization being all-inclusive, each of the sixty-some dancers who auditioned would be invited to be part of the show.
“We (the producers) sat down for seven hours and placed everyone in pieces that we thought would be a good fit and would work with everyone’s schedule,” Ruzicka said.
For beginner dancers, the producers sought to place them in pieces that would help the dancers fall in love with dancing; for the more experienced dancers, the producers sought pieces that would provide a healthy challenge.
“I think we did a good job of fostering a love of dance and appreciation for the arts,” Ruzicka said.
What: 24th-annual Steamboat Springs High School Dance Showcase
When: 6 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday
Where: Steamboat Springs High School, 45 Maple St.
Tickets: $20 adult reserved, $12 adult general seating, $5 students
The showcase includes 18 original dances, representing country, arial, modern, jazz and more. The dancers represent freshmen to seniors, females and males.
“There’s a place for everyone,” Johnston said, “and we need every single person.”
While Delaney’s mother, Summer Johnston, has dedicated the past few months to being the showcase’s sponsor — being an adult supervisor and helping the group plan and troubleshoot — the showcase is entirely student-led. Everyone from the show’s dancers to its choreographers to its producers are high school students.
With casting done, one large hurdle had been cleared, but the work of the production was just getting started.
First and foremost, the producers wanted the dancers to feel a deep sense of connection to the pieces they were involved with.
“Because we were trying to tell stories and portray emotions, we had the dancers sit down with the choreographers and flesh out the stories and emotions,” Ruzicka said. “We wanted to help connect the dancers to the story they’re telling.”
The dances range from expressing messages surrounding climate change, rain forest and water protection to inspirational stories to pieces designed to look straight out of a storybook.
“It’s a lot of really different, unique pieces that are all very strong and work really well together as a production,” Johnston said.
Rehearsals kicked off in September, every afternoon of the week.
To pay for the showcase, the producers pitched the budding production to local businesses.
“We learned a lot about communication and timing,” Miller said. “People were really kind.”
“I think that through this process, we learned that the community really supports the arts, which is super dooper encouraging for us moving forward, because we know people like (the showcase) and have fun at it,” Johnston said.
For many of the dancers, the cherry on top of the whole showcase was the friendships that came of the months of working side-by-side.
“It’s definitely a bonding experience,” Thurston said. “You get to meet a ton of other people in other age groups and friend groups who you wouldn’t meet normally, and it helps people grow as individuals.”
The showcase premiers Thursday, Dec. 5, and runs Friday, Dec. 6, and Saturday, Dec. 7, as well. All performances begin at 6 p.m. A reserved seat ticket costs $20, an adult general seating ticket is $12, and all local students may purchase a $5 ticket. Tickets are available at All That and at Steamboat Springs High School.
Julia Ben-Asher is a contributing writer for Steamboat Pilot & Today.
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