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Just Dance: 57th International Choreographers’ Showcase planned this weekend

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By Tracy Harris

For 17 years, La Grange’s Dance-Forms Productions has organized international choreographers for performances around the globe — and this weekend, the show returns home to the Oldham County Schools Arts Center.

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This event will be the 57th International Choreographers’ Showcase. Susana Williams has produced four or five a year since 1994, along with help from her husband, Larry Williams.

Williams attended an international choreographers’ competition in Japan in 1993, where she saw “so many good choreographies not being performed.” 

“There were a lot of good works just being left out,” she said, so she and Larry decided to give them an opportunity to perform. In July 1994, the first showcase was presented in Avignon, France, with 12 days of performances.

Since then, Williams has presented showcases in Austria, Germany, Italy, Monte Negro, Yugoslavia, Guatemala, Mexico and others. For 11 years, the showcase has been presented at the Edinburg Festival Fringe, the largest arts festival in the world.

The showcase made its hometown debut in 2003 at The Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts.

“It was truly a tremendous group,” said Williams.

That group caught the attention of Kentucky Arts Council officials, who gave Williams a grant in 2005 to start the Bluegrass State International Dance Festival. This is the fifth year the Bluegrass State festival will present the choreographer’s showcase.

Williams is excited to have the support of the Louisville Ballet, whose dancer, Ben Needham Wood, will present his own choreographed work at the showcase. 

Robin Wilson, a former Kentucky artist-in-residence and former Governor’s School for the Arts faculty member, will return from Michigan to present her work as well.

Other choreographers this year include Kim Olson, a former leading dancer with the Stephen Petronio Company; Gina Patterson, co-founder of VOICE Dance Company; and Lesole Z. Maine, formerly of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.

The OC Performance Troupe will also perform this year. Trina Jackson directs the 40-student group of dancers 9 to 17 years old.

The troupe focuses on musical theater and members take classes at the arts center several times a week in singing and dancing.

At the showcase, they’ll perform “Fame,” the 1980s-themed musical, and “Man With A Hex,” a tap dance.

Jackson said it is a great opportunity for the students to interact with classically-trained dancers and choreographers. 

Williams will perform as a way to honor the first anniversary of her son’s death. This year’s event is dedicated to Jonathan Williams, 35, who was struck by a vehicle while riding his bicycle in Louisville.

“This the way I can show my emotions — through my art,” Williams said. She’ll perform her solo piece, entitled “Faith.” Williams said many of her son’s friends will be at the showcase, and she is grateful to all the artists and to the arts center for making the event a way to celebrate Jonathan’s life.

Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for children. It takes place at 7:30 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Saturday at the arts center.

 

Email us about this story at: tharris@oldhamera.com.