Jazzy Gershwin in silvery costumes for an art deco cylinder. A fluid duet in pink for intricate, flame-worked glass coral. A spiraling solo in a white dress for a radiant French vase.
Dance Theatre Northwest presents a free “Arts Are Education” ballet performance Saturday at the University Place Atrium, including new works inspired by glass art at Tacoma’s Museum of Glass.
For director Melanie Kirk-Stauffer, it’s a way of making her city a better place.
“We do this for the community,” says Kirk-Stauffer, whose 30-year-old University Place dance company puts on free shows every year at local schools, retirement homes, theaters and museums, recently winning a city award for community service. “(In University Place) we have no parks and rec. If groups like us don’t step up, there’ll be nothing. I’m a resident here, and I want to have the best city I can.”
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So Kirk-Stauffer choreographs. While some of the pieces on the upcoming concert are ballet favorites, such as a showcase solo from “Le Corsaire,” many works are from a recent performance at the Museum of Glass, where the ballet director created dances inspired by works of glass in the galleries.
“Habanera,” with Madeline Ewer, Oceana Thunder, Philandra Eargle and Neil Alexander, imitates the quiet drama and mirrored shapes of a pink vase by Dominick Labino. To a silky trumpet habanera by Ravel, the quartet contrasts classic ballet partner lifts and spins with a fluid triangular symmetry with the other two girls. “Fascinating Rhythm” is a duo set to a piano-and-vibes version of the Gershwin classic. Ballet lifts, arabesques and developpes contrast with playful gestures like flicked Latin hands, tucked knee skips and nods to the Charleston, all danced in swirly silver costumes that echo the art deco lines of the Czech glass that inspired it.
In “Reef,” two dancers in coral-pink shifts float eloquent arms like anemones, exploring more contemporary vocabulary to hypnotic electronic music by Fly Project; “Morning Light” infuses a solo by Oceana Thunder with the same radiance of the original Pierre D’Avesn opal glass vase, Thunder’s arms and spiraling white skirt echoing the sculpture’s arced diagonals.
“For me, each new day radiates new light and energy,” says Kirk-Stauffer.
Arts Are Education dance concert
Who: Dance Theatre Northwest.
When: 7 p.m. Saturday.
Where: University Place Atrium, 3609 Market Place (36th Street and Bridgeport Way West), University Place.
And also: Concert repeats 1:30 p.m. May 17 at Park Lodge Elementary.
Information: 253-778-6534, dtnw.org.