North Coast Dance Festival returns, adopts virtual format


Photo courtesy of Jill Grundstrom

Peter Smedley

The NMU Department of Theatre and Dance will be hosting the North Coast Dance Festival from April 23 until April 25 at 7:30 p.m. The event will be virtual and tickets will be $17 for the general public, $12 for NMU employees, seniors and military and $5 for students.

The festival will see six different performances. A virtual itinerary can be found online. The NMU Department of Theatre and Dance Facebook page recently posted biographies of several performers for the show. Jill Grundstrom, assistant professor and dance program director, shares how the performers are feeling about the upcoming performance.

“The dancers are so excited to get back on stage. Having our purpose taken away so abruptly and for so long has been really hard,” Grundstrom said. “This is our inaugural North Coast Dance Festival, and while it looks different than it will in August 2022 when we bring in professional dancers from across the country, we are excited to launch this new endeavor.” 

Christina Ferrera, sophomore biology major with a physiology concentration, is a captain and member of the NMU Dance Team, according to the Facebook page. This information is also available under the virtual itinerary link. 

Ferrara choreographed “Slowly Burning” and will be dancing during the performance. While the performers are integral to the show, there are also many who work behind the scenes to make the event come to life. 

This year has also presented challenges in terms of music. The Department of Theatre and Dance has had to transition to royalty-free music, Grunsdtrom said.

“In some ways, this has been great—the collaborations with the music department, but in other ways very challenging as we have not been able to use any popular music. Performing in masks has also been a challenge—not being able to see facial expressions, as air flow, which has affected how difficult the choreography can be,” Grundstrom said.

Grundstrom is looking forward to welcoming new students into classes and auditions next semester and is hopeful that the coming years will return to normal.

“We are working hard to safely get back into our training groove; taking into account the difficulties of dancing in a mask. More breaks, more hydration and more patience have been the motto,” Grundstrom said.

To purchase tickets for the North Coast Dance Festival, visit NMU ticketing.