By Kara Fox
Dance might be seen as an odd way to benefit research, but NMU’s dancers say differently.
This year’s 2011 winter semester dance recital will be an AIDS/HIV benefit dance. The dance will be held at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 10 at the Forest Roberts Theatre. Performance admissions are free and all are encouraged to attend the event.
The first part of the show will be “Forgiveness-Reconciliation-Freedom.” The choreography for this portion of the show was created by the NMU performance company class, which is an academic service learning class.
The class is made up of student choreographers, dancers, actors and musicians, as well as visual artists and poets.
“We have community dancers and musicians in this class who are working with the NMU students,” Maria Formolo said. “We include actors, musicians, poets as well as dancers to create an event through the class.”
Formolo teaches dance and tai chi at the health promotion department and is one of the organizers of this event, along with other faculty and dance students. Louise Bourgault asked for her assistance in the production of this event and Formolo continued to organize these events after Bourgault walked on.
“We take groups into the community and invite community members to be part of our events,” Formolo said.
Joni Toivonen, a freshman elementary education major, will be preforming with the Dance Association of Northern Michigan University. Toivonen was a cheerleader growing up and has always had a knack for dancing. This will be her second time ever preforming, but it is her first time on stage. She said she is looking forward to the show.
“I absolutely love the Dance Association,” Toivonen said. “Even if you have never danced before, it will always be fun and it’s a great group of girls.”
Another performer will be Crystal Cooper, a senior ecology major. She is currently taking a modern dance class taught by Formolo. Cooper began dancing when she could walk.
She has never performed with a class before but has been a cheerleader for six years. Besides preforming as a cheerleader and with many musical ensembles, this is her first dance performance.
“I’m taking modern dance because I didn’t know what it was, but knew it would be a fun learning experience,” Cooper said. “I heard wonderful things about Maria Formolo and wanted to learn more about creative dance. I decided to take a dance class because I wanted to do something creative, fun and physical to get a break from classes.”
To Cooper, being well-rounded, healthy and fit is just as important as being smart and productive in school.
“It will be great for people to see what modern dance is all about and hopefully be inspired to try it themselves,” Cooper said. “Performing our dance to an audience will be liberating. I believe that learning the language of bodily expression is an inspiring and beautiful thing.”
Her dance instructor is an inspiration and Cooper said she is ecstatic for Saturday’s show.
“Maria is an amazing dancer and instructor,” Cooper said. “She really teaches you how to express yourself through dance in whatever way you feel necessary, but in context and with other dancers.”
For the second part of the show, there will be an intermission held, where NMU’s own jazz, hip hop, tap, belly dance, and both modern and intermediate ballet classes will be performing. In addition, there will be student solo performances, along with a few community guests and local performers.
The evening will end with a lyrical hip-hop piece.
Then, a dance party will take place, where everyone will be invited on stage to boogie down, twist, two-step, twirl, whirl or just dance.
Informational material on the benefit will be provided at the entrance of the theater. The event will be sponsored by the Department of Health, Physical Education and Recreation.
Information on donations can be acquired through the NMU Health Promotion Office or the City of Marquette.
For those interested in taking part in the program, classes can be taken that are involved in health education or with the performance class Lenny Shible, head of the HPO department, can also be contacted. He can be reached at [email protected]
For additional information on the AIDS benefit dance, call Maria Formolo at (906) 227-2130 or email [email protected]