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Feast your Senses’ on diverse dance flavors with Ohio State’s ‘Dance Uptown’

Feast your Senses’ is scheduled to be performed Nov. 16 - 17 in Mershon Auditorium.

Local and international dance experts are preparing a show that is sure to bring a different palette of choreographic taste to the stage.

“We call it ‘Feast your Senses’ because each dance is like a different flavor,” said Susan Petry, chair for the Ohio State Department of Dance.

The OSU Department of Dance’s “Dance Uptown: Feast your Senses,” is scheduled to hit the stage at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday in the Mershon Auditorium at the Wexner Center for the Arts.

Each year, the department holds two “Dance Uptown” performances. One is student driven, while the other showcases local and international choreographers. The latter of which is being held this weekend.

This year’s show is slated to include choreographers and OSU dance professors Melanie Bales and Susan Hadley, assistant dance professor Rodney A. Brown and dance lecturers Noa Zuk and Ohad Fishof.

A cast of dancers from OSU’s undergraduate and graduate dance department will perform the choreographers’ pieces.

“In essence they’re all contemporary, but they are each using different styles,” Petry said of the dance pieces.

“Radiant Paths” by Bales is a contemporary piece that incorporates movement from a baroque style, an original form of ballet, Petry said.

“It will look more ballet and old-fashioned, but it has a contemporary twist to it,” Petry said.

Bales said she decided to create a piece that combined elements of baroque dance and modern form. She said she hopes the piece takes the audience back to the 17th century.

“It’s supposed to be very entertaining and allow the audience to see the beauty of that style and open up into another time,” Bales said.

Brown’s piece, “Gone’s Goings,” has a hint of jazz intertwined into the dance, and Hadley’s piece, “Commonplace,” is a very modern dance style, Petry said.

In addition, Zuk and Fishof, a couple from Israel, choreographed a dance that uses an Israeli technique different from what many OSU dancers are accustomed to.

“Their way of dancing is very different than how we’ve been dancing at OSU,” said Ellen Maynard, a fourth-year in dance.

Maynard has participated in this annual show since her second year at OSU and said she has enjoyed the experience each time. This year she is performing in the piece, “Nothing II,” by Zuk and Fishof.

“What they value in the dance movement is different than what we would normally value,” Maynard said. “It’s been great to get a totally different perspective on the choreography and the technique of how you do it.”

Performers and choreographers have been working together on the pieces since the end of August. Maynard said practicing four days a week can be hard but always pays off.

“My favorite part is being pushed and challenged to take ownership of material that they give us and perform it every day,” Maynard said.

She said she hopes the audience can open its imagination up to the fantasy of “Nothing II.”

“One day, one of our choreographers said we could act like animals that haven’t been invented yet,” Maynard said. “It’s out of this world, fantastical, but always very subtle in detail.”

Petry said she hopes the variances in choreography will be a draw for audiences.

“I hope (the audience) takes away a little sense of how diverse dance can be, because they’re each so different,” Petry said.

Four pieces of choreography will be presented, making the performance last about an hour and a half each night.

Tickets can be purchased at the door or on the Wexner Center’s website for $12.

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