Dance shows bring together students, professionals

Tuscaloosa Community Dancers will present three acts at the Bama Theatre this weekend. The events will be held Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. and matinee shows at 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

The show will consist of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” “Les Sylphides” and Twyla Tharp’s “Baker’s Dozen” performed by Tuscaloosa Community Dancers, the University of Alabama department of dance and Alabama Ballet.

President of Tuscaloosa Community Dancers Ray Taylor said the company’s mission is to provide dance opportunities and dance instruction for young people in the community. In order to create opportunities for dancers, they perform The Nutcracker every winter and a spring repertoire. This week’s performances are TCD’s spring repertoire show.

Taylor performed with Tuscaloosa Community Dancers in the early 1980s, in addition to being a dance student at the University.

Taylor said some of the more experienced dancers in high school who are able to compete with university dancers will perform in “Les Sylphides.” The act is a collaboration for dancers who want to move forward with their artistic careers in dance school. Two dancers for TCD have performed at Radio City Music Hall in New York City, and some have gone on to dance school in New York.

“We have dancers all over the country,” Taylor said. “One dancer is now in the Miami Ballet.”

The shows, with an exception for Saturday’s matinee, will begin with Alabama Ballet’s performance of Twyla Tharp’s “Baker’s Dozen.”

“Tharp’s work is just right for the person in your family, probably a football fanatic, who claims he doesn’t like dance,” said TCD staff member Milla Green. “Baker’s Dozen is an elegantly comic jazz ballroom fantasy to music by Willie “The Lion” Smith.”

UA Department of Theater and Dance will perform the next dance, Les Sylphides, to original music by Frederic Chopin and choreographed by UA dance faculty member Quianping Guo.

“Like ‘Baker’s Dozen,’ the dancers in ‘Les Sylphides’ are clad in all-white, but this piece is more of a traditional ballet,” Green said.

The last performance will be “Snow White,” with music by original composer Thomas Helm and choreography by Alabama Ballet’s Van Fleteren and re-staged by Alabama Ballet principal dancers Kathryn Gebler Spitzer and Jenna McKerrow Wilson. The leading roles of the show are performed by Alden Phillips as Snow White and Harriet Poellnitz as the Evil Queen.

“There is something for everybody because the professionals, the college students and the younger dancers will all dance,” Taylor said.

Saturday’s matinee will be “Snow White” and will be catered toward a younger audience. It will last approximately 50 minutes, and children will be able to meet the characters in costume before the show.

For more information or ticket prices, visit bamatheatre.org.

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