February 17, 2015
It’s that time of year, when the island’s hard-working dancers jump, twirl, slide, roll, hip, hop, tap and shine on stage for their beloved community.
“Other Moves” is the annual dance concert that showcases a variety of contemporary movement presented by the Island Dance Performing Team and guests. The show is directed by choreographer and artistic director Jamee Pitts and her team manager, Lori Moore. The only two performances are Saturday, Feb. 21 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. at South Whidbey High School Auditorium Theater.
“Other Moves” celebrates all forms of contemporary dance, while benefiting the Island Dance Performing Team by offsetting the costs of competitions throughout the year, including help with entrance fees, costumes, hotel and travel expenses. But “Other Moves” also serves to showcase the more advanced dancers of Island Dance and to offer a venue where other local talented dancers and choreographers can perform.
In fact, Pitts said the mission of the Island Dance Performing Team emphasizes the performance side of her team’s goals over the winning side.
“Competition is not just about winning; winning is the least important thing. It is about inspiration and striving to be the best you can be. It’s about sharing your passion,” the choreographer said.
After 14 years of teaching dance, Pitts said she has grown as a teacher and as choreographer, knowing now the best way to build dance pieces and the best way to build performers. Backstage before a performance, she tells her dancers to stay warm, stay focused and—most importantly—to share themselves fully with the audience. to give them their hearts. Performance over winning, passion over competiveness—this is what makes a good dancer, she said.
This year, plenty of passion will be on display, with all styles of choreography and music put together by Pitts and special guest choreographers: Danielle Wilkins, Daniel Wilkins and Christine Monaghan, as well as Marta Mulholland performing her aerial ribbon act and the South Whidbey High School “Music in Motion” choral group. Every style of music, from Bill Haley and His Comets, Cyndi Lauper and One Republic to Dead Can Dance and Sara Bareilles are on this program. “Other Moves” offers true variety throughout the show including dancers of all ages and an always enjoyable peek at what the youngest performers of the Island Dance team can do. Even the colorful titles of Pitts’ dances seem to promote the idea of performance over winning: “New Day,” “Walkin’ on Sunshine,” “Trash Can,” “Gravity,” “Lights,” and “Keep Breathing,” to name a few.
“It’s a contemporary show, full of dynamic, up-beat pieces and a crowd pleaser every year!” Pitts said.
The concert is a collaborative effort of Island Dance and Gymnastics (the school that is now housed in the Langley Middle School building and offers dance classes in choreography, ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, hip hop and modern); and the Island Dance Performing Team.
“These organizations struggle year after year trying to put everything on the schedule … and somehow we manage to do it,” Pitts said.
Pitts said she is thankful to God for giving her this job, for this gift of being able to mentor young dancers.
“When a dancer can embody my vision for the movement, there really aren’t words for it — you just know it’s a job well done. Being a teacher and choreographer certainly isn’t just a job, it’s my whole life.”
Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 at the door; all general seating.
Buy advance tickets at Island Dance and Gymnastics by calling 360-341-1282 or come by the office at 714 Camano Ave. in Langley. South Whidbey High School Auditorium is located at 5675 Maxwelton Road in Langley.