Dance celebrates the ‘passages’ of life
As the dancers and choreographers of the InnerRhythms Dance Theatre prepare for their upcoming Gala performance, the emphasis has been on change.
“I just think it’s going to be kind of a new experience for the audience, and that’s what I was hoping for,” said Elizabeth Archer, executive director and choreographer for InnerRhythms. “I wanted it to be different this year, and I think it will be. And I think people will really enjoy it.”
One of Archer’s priorities for this show, scheduled for April 2 – 3 at the Tahoe Truckee High School auditorium, is evoking an emotional response from the audience through a more fluid combination of dance, music, song and visual media.
“It’s kind of something new, because last year we had dance then we had singing, then we had dance,” Archer said. “This year it’s just all going to flow together. So the song is part of the dance, and the dance is part of the music and part of the story … so it’s all happening at once.”
The theme of the show is “passages,” and the performance was designed to celebrate the many experiences and changes that define our lives as human beings.
“The choreography has been a lot about each individual this year,” Archer said, “because we’ve all had different things that we’ve gone through and it’s come out in the choreography. Which is interesting because it’s part of the passages [theme] – it’s part of why I think we came up with that theme this year. Because we’ve all experienced some growth thing this past year where we’ve moved to the next passage or the next stage.”
Making the Gala even more unique this year is the addition of three young men to the InnerRhythms company.
Twelve-year-old Parker Kalan, a Sierra Mountain Middle School student, was the first boy to join the group, followed by North Tahoe High School students Chris Lingle, age 17, and Jesus Miranda, age 18.
Kalan, who is also currently the youngest member of the company, was initially drawn to InnerRhythms by his interest in hip-hop dance, but has since embraced the more traditional ballet and jazz dance styles as well.
“When I tried out for InnerRhythms, I had never done ballet and I had never done a lot of the things they were doing, and I was kind of scared,” he said. “But I knew I had to go through with it because, at the time I really liked hip-hop, and I knew that if I wanted to pursue hip-hop more that I’d have to go through it. Then I just got more in tune with the other types of dancing.”
Lingle was convinced to join InnerRhythms while a cast member in a local production of Sleeping Beauty. Many of the girls in the cast were members of the company, and they encouraged him to consider joining.
“A bunch of dancers are going to my school, and I was thinking of pursuing theatrical arts, and they said to me that it’s good to have a dance basis, so I’m like ‘It could be fun.’ And it just kind of clicked because it was easy to pick up,” Lingle said.
Miranda, on the other hand, needed very little convincing, as he says he has loved to dance since the day he was born.
After having no boys in the company during InnerRhythms’ first year, Archer and the rest of the group are excited to have three.
“The guys have been working really hard,” Archer said. “I’m really proud of them because they’ve really buckled down and gotten serious about it. I want more guys to dance so I’m hoping that we can get the word out.”
Dancer Jenny VanBlarigan agreed:
“I think it’s more interesting to watch when we have the guys in there with us because it adds more variety; and all of us are used to dancing just with girls, and it’s cool to work with them and see them learning how to do this stuff.”
Though accepted immediately by the rest of the company, all three guys were a little nervous about what their other friends would think.
“When I first started taking ballet it was all hush hush, nobody knows,” Kalan said. “But it eventually got out and everybody was just cool with it. It wasn’t a big deal.”
Lingle had a similar experience. “When I first started I thought everyone would be like ‘You’re taking ballet? What a loser.’ But I got there and people were like ‘No way, that’s so cool.’
“My friend who had joined the Marines said ‘Man, you have got more balls than me to get up in front of people in tights and dance around.'”
All three are excited for InnerRhythms’ upcoming performances, including opening for the Savage Jazz dance company tonight at the Cal Neva in Crystal Bay and next week’s Gala.
Advanced tickets for the InnerRhythms Gala are $15 for adults and $10 for seniors and students or $17 and $12 at the door. Tickets may be reserved by calling 584-1210.