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Sam Houston State University Department of Dance presents


April 25 - 27, 2013


 Photo by: Lynn Lane


The SHSU Dance of Department Says Goodbye through Departures


The Sam Houston State University Department of Dance will present the Spring 2013 Spectrum Dance Concert Departures April 25 – 27 in the James and Nancy Gaertner Performing Arts Center Dance Theatre in honor of two professors who have given much to our community and the successful development of the Department of Dance at Sam Houston State.


After nearly 20 years of involvement with dance at Sam, Professor Jonathan Charles Smith passed away on February 14, 2013. Smith was an inspiring teacher and versatile choreographer who choreographed works ranging from timeless classic ballets to raucous entertainment pieces. Smith proudly served both the Department of Dance and the Department of Theatre and Musical Theatre in his teaching, directing, choreographing and mentoring of the students in both areas.


Departures will honor Jonathan in the presentation of three of his works. At the time of his death, Jonathan was working on a new tap piece he named Illinois Jackass. Cast member and graduate student Amy Wright, with the help of her fellow cast members, continued to work on the piece after his passing and will present it in its raw form as his final creation. Also on the evening is an excerpt from his choreographic contribution to the School of Music’s production of Carnival of the Animals from earlier in the semester. For this excerpt, dancer Romney Thomas will be presenting Jonathan Charles’ The Dying Swan. As a final tribute to Jonathan, the program will close with his award winning work Red Socks. 


In light of her retirement, Departures will also honor Dr. Cindy Gratz for her 20+ years of service and teaching at SHSU. Dr. Gratz’s contributions to the growth of the dance program have been wide reaching from her insightful development of the graduate program to her research in World Dance forms and her thought-provoking choreography. Highlights from her career at Sam include directing both the Texas World Dance Company and The Prime Time Dancers for senior citizens, organizations aimed at bridging the gap between dance and the community. Notably, Dr. Gratz received Dance Teacher Magazine’s 2010 “Dance Teacher of the Year for Higher Education Award.” The Department invites everyone who would like to give Dr. Gratz a special send off to Saturday night’s performance where we will honor her and all she has done for dance at Sam.


Additional works of the evening include Fear Knot, a dynamic contemporary work with an unusual lighting installation by guest artist David Justin, former principle dancer with the Birmingham Royal Ballet (UK). An architectural ballet point piece, Shaving the Stone, that is set to Vivaldi and choreographed by faculty member Dana Nicolay and choreographic assistant Leann Huddleston. Faculty members Andy Noble and Dionne Sparkman Noble collaborate with graduate students David J Deveau and Brittany Thetford to present Shift, which features a large cast, multiple movable walls, and projection design in an exploration of the construction and deconstruction that takes place in our daily lives.  Andy Noble will also present a small place, a dramatic, personal solo work danced by Brittany Thetford.


Aerial work Wrapped Up in a Dream by graduate student Alicia Carlin and solo work by graduate student Laura Harrell, Milestones and Monuments round out the evening. Both works represented SHSU at this year’s American College Dance Festival with Harrell’s work selected for the Gala performance.


Show times are 8 PM April 25 – 27 with a 2 PM Saturday Matinee. Tickets are $15 General Admission and $12 for Seniors and Students.


For ticket purchase contact the GPAC Box office at 936.294.2339.



Photo By: Lynn Lane

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