February 26, 2014
Whidbey Island Dance Theatre and Island Dance Performing Team have joined forces to present an energetic, talent-filled contemporary dance concert this weekend, Friday. Feb. 28 through Sunday, March 2. The groups will merge former concerts together as one to give audiences a jam-packed chance to see the island’s talented young dancers at their best. The concert includes approximately twenty different pieces, with IDPT solos and small group numbers—all choreographed by Artistic Director, Jamee (Brown) Pitts—mixed in with pieces by WIDT’s company & alumnae. One notable piece, “If We Hold On Together,” won the highest honor of “1st Overall” for its age division at the team’s first competition of the year.
Show times are Friday, February 28 at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, March 1 at 2 p.m. & 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, March 2 at 2 p.m. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased either in person at the Island Dance office (714 Camano Avenue in Langley) or online, with a small processing fee via Brown Paper Tickets, at www.widtonline.org.
The concert will be held at the South Whidbey High School Performing Arts Center at 5675 Maxwelton Rd.
Ticket prices are $14 for pre-sale and $16 at the door; all seats are festival seating. For questions, please call Island Dance at (360) 341-1282, the WIDT Box Office at (360) 341-2221 or email email@example.com.
The show’s collaboration takes place both onstage and off. WIDT artistic director, Charlene Brown, wears many hats and serves many roles in the Whidbey Island performing arts scene. She is co-owner of Island Dance, which has been open since 1987. She founded WIDT in 1991—receiving non-profit status in 1993—to provide dancers additional opportunities for pre-professional experience.
IDPT was formed for young dancers who wanted to take a more serious route in the contemporary dance world, so they can attend dance conventions and competitions. Brown’s daughter, Jamee Pitts, is now artistic director of IDPT alongside team manager and longtime Island Dance receptionist, Lori Moore. Brown’s assistant artistic director, Amy Lehman, was also her student when Island Dance first opened and was an original WIDT company member. Pitts and Lehman were friends who danced together when they were young.
“We’d go into an empty studio after class or rehearsal, put on some music, and just dance around,” Lehman said. “Then we’d go to each other’s houses and dance around the living room. It’s kind of surreal that we’re now both passing on our love of dance to the next generation at the same studio where it all began for the both of us.”
The directors all agree that it is that passion for dance that drives all the dancers who will be onstage for this performance. “You have to love what you’re doing, to put in the amount of hours they all do,” said Pitts.
Choreographers include Aaron Cash, Lehman, Pitts and Daniel Wilkins. Cash, a world-renowned dancer and choreographer, took time out of his busy schedule as a judge on “So You Think You Can Dance Australia” to set pieces on both the full company and alumnae earlier this month. He has extensive performing experience with Cher, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Twyla Tharp, and as one of the original Tap Dogs, not to mention numerous credits in both television and film.
Wilkins, who choreographed the Faerie Queen/Forest King pas de deux for WIDT’s “Nutcracker,” danced professionally with Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Donald Byrd/The Group, Spectrum Dance Theater, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, and Suzanne Farrell Ballet among others. He is now the artistic director of his own company, DASSDance.
WIDT dancers are Ariana Abrahams, Grace Colby, Kiana Henny, Madyson Hunter, Holley Johnson, Kelsey Lampe, Skyylynn Lippo, Taylor Moore, Faith O’Brochta, Megan Parker, Bronte Patty-Caldwell, Emma Patty-Caldwell, Tessa Sherman, Morgan Vanadisson, Alexa Varga, & Caitlin Zarifis. IDPT dancers are Ariana Abrahams, Ella Bueler, Gavriel Ewart, Mya Ford, Hannah Lampe, Kelsey Lampe, Kaytee Lockwood, Kendall Marshall, Faith Mathew, Taylor Moore, Taylor Pitts, Fiona Roberts, & Chyler White. Returning for the fourth annual WIDT-Alumnae piece will be Amy Arand, Brittany Falso, Nicole Falso, Karli Hunter, Lehman, Chelsea Matthews-Jensen, Halla Miller, Christine Monaghan, Pitts and Susan Vanderwood.
Whidbey Island Dance Theatre is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation that seeks to be a significant cultural resource for the Whidbey Island community and its visitors, while providing dancers the opportunity for artistic growth and achievement by adhering to the highest standards of technique, choreography and production.
Island Dance Performing Team is dedicated to offering the highest level of dance education and performance knowledge while instilling self-confidence and personal growth.