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Seton Hill University dance students ready to strut their stuff

| Tuesday, April 25, 2017, 9:00 p.m.
Seton Hill University dancers rehearse a piece from “Dance Spectrum.”
Seton Hill University
Seton Hill University dancers rehearse a piece from “Dance Spectrum.”

Dance students at Seton Hill University are putting their best foot forward this week in four performances of their spring program, “Dance Spectrum.”

The program, being staged at William Granger Ryan Theatre at Seton Hill's Performing Arts Center in Greensburg, showcases the talents of 33 dance students, who will perform a wide spectrum of styles, including ballet, jazz, modern, contemporary, tap and a dance film project. Performers include students with dance majors or minors, as well as those with other majors.

Two members of Seton Hill's faculty — TaMara Swank, assistant professor of dance, and Stefan Zubal, assistant professor of theater and dance — choreographed pieces for the program, which also features guest choreographers Gerard W. Holt and Kim Clay.

Swank says the public is welcome to attend the event and experience the variety of students' dances.

“They can take the journey in the moment along with the performers while developing their own interpretation of what they see,” she says. “I always find it interesting to watch dancers dedicate themselves to conveying the choreographers' vision.”

Zubal says the program features “a diversity of styles, from the entertaining to the thought provoking.”

His choreographed work is titled “Listen to my Dance,” a work on film for which he also served as videographer. He also directs “The Empathy Project,” a modern dance piece choreographed by Seton Hill's Dance Rehearsal and Performance class.

Swank has choreographed two pieces in the show, “Flowers for You,” a Latin influenced jazz piece, and “In Comes the Light,” a contemporary piece she says is about “breaking free of stoic behavior and allowing yourself to experience emotion. Light technology will be used in the costuming to represent the sense of emotion.”

Senior dance major Zuri Hodge of Verona is featured in Holt's piece, “Scarlet Women of the Bible” in which she dances en pointe in the role of a deer. She also tap dances in Clay's work, “One O'Clock Jump,” and performs in Swank's “Flowers for You.”

After graduation, Hodge says she hopes to keep performing and eventually use her second major in communication with a specialization in advocacy media for a career in broadcast journalism.

Megan Vichich of Cranberry is a sophomore dance major featured in “The Empathy Project,” “Flowers for You” and “One O'Clock Jump.”

“I think the community will like the variety the show brings to the audience this spring. There is something for everyone, whether you like an elegant ballet piece or an upbeat tap dance,” Vichich says. “The choreographers really worked with the students to bring out our personalities and strengths in the various pieces. Additionally, each piece of music is different and just as catchy as the one before it.”

Swank of Greensburg has a bachelor of arts degree in dance, concentration in ballet, from Point Park University, and a masters degree in exercise science and health promotion from California University of Pennsylvania. She was the artistic director and founder of Studio 22 Performing Arts Center, founder of the Seton Hill community dance program and created and developed the Seton Hill cheerleading squad, dance club and dance team. She has choreographed more than 40 pieces for dance concerts and musicals at Seton Hill.

Zubal has danced with Richmond Ballet and Fort Wayne Ballet. He has a bachelor of arts degree in theater from Indiana University and Purdue University and a master of fine arts degree in dance from Florida State University. He has choreographed several musicals, including “Bat Boy: The Musical” for Seton Hill.

Candy Williams is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.

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