MyNorth News Service

(Press Release provided by Crooked Tree Arts Center)

HARBOR SPRINGS: The Crooked Tree Arts Center School of Ballet’s students are gearing up for what will be their 9th annual “Fall for Dance” at a Harbor Springs ballet event. “Fall for Dance” is a very unique performance as it is a completely student-run show. Everything from choreography to music decision, costuming, and lighting is selected by the students as a way to give them another outlook into the world of dance, as well as to raise money for their beloved Harbor Springs Performing Arts Center.

In past years, students have based their creations off various themes such as art, literature, and music. This year, the students have all been assigned the setting of a forest. “It’s been really interesting to see what each choreographer comes up with,” says student director, Michael Menghini. “It’s a very broad interpretation of the forest. We have pieces based off seasons, woodland fairies, nighttime, people slowly going insane, powerful winds, finding comfort in nature and many others. I’ve loved seeing how each person perceives this theme and how they send it across to their dancers.”

Another very exciting staple to this show is the return of guest choreographer Robin Pettersen. During the school year, Robin is a dance professor at the University of Wisconsin. In August of 2014, Robin attended CTAC School of Ballet’s annual “Evening of Dance” in Bay View. Immediately following the performance, Ms. Pettersen sought out Heather Raue, Artistic Director of the school, and insisted on setting a piece on her dancers. Robin’s piece “Poke” was choreographed and set on pre-professional students Amanda Humphrey, Emily McGeehan, and Michael Menghini for last year’s “Fall for Dance.” This year, Ms. Petterson has returned to choreograph yet again for CTAC School of Ballet. Rebekah Bearss, Amanda Humphrey, Emily McGeehan, Olivia Pearsall, and Abigail Walz spent five weeks working with Ms. Petterson and are performing this year’s piece, which is set to accordion music with lots of dynamic shifts and tempo changes. For both of the years her pieces were premiered at our “Fall for Dance,” she afterward took them to her university program to add upon and restage.

In addition to choreographing on their peers, “Fall for Dance” also gives the students an opportunity to choreograph on lower level students. This year there are a record number of younger dancers performing, starting with students from the Beginning/Intermediate level, up to Intermediate/Advanced, which is just a step below the pre-professionals. The younger students are very excited for this opportunity since they would not be performing in “Fall for Dance” unless specifically picked by their choreographer and/or teacher.

For almost a decade, all proceeds from “Fall for Dance” are directly donated to the Harbor Springs Performing Arts Center. In previous years, the donations have provided the theater with specialized flooring for dance, new lighting capabilities through the purchase of a scrim, new lights, and most recently, a high definition projector for the theater.

“Opportunities for youth to create and produce on this level and for the betterment of their community are rare and special,” says Heather Raue. “This is the first choreographic experience for several of our dancers. And for our more seasoned pre-pros, their work has become so much richer over time. It is a brave and mature endeavor to create work for an audience on other people to convey. These young dancers have put together a beautiful performance not to be missed.”

“Fall for Dance” will take place on Sunday, November 8 at the Harbor Springs Performing Arts Center at 7:00 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at Crooked Tree Arts Center or at the door. Tickets are $15 for adults and $5 for students, and may be purchased with cash or check only.

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Photo(s) by Josh Angel