Richland College Dance Program Raises Environmental Awareness with ‘Fire and Ice’ Fall Concert

Two students dancing in sync

Richland College students audition for “Fire & Ice.” Photo by Paul Knudsen.

The Richland College dance program’s movements will go green as it raises awareness of the environment during its fall dance concert, “Fire & Ice,” at 12:30 and 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 4.

Directed by Richland College dance director Gina Sawyer, “Fire & Ice” will involve both students and faculty in choreography and performance roles, with dance genres including contemporary modern, lyrical, jazz, tap and hip-hop.

“’Fire & Ice’ is about creating a greater awareness for our environment through dance performance,” said Sawyer. “The Richland College dance program is collaborating with Richardson Recycles to promote sustainability within our community.”

Each audience member who attends the afternoon show will receive a blue recycle bag from the city of Richardson. The bags can be used as a reusable grocery bags and later can be repurposed into cleaning cloths.

Dance faculty choreography and film work will include original pieces by Claire Augustine, Christie Nelson, Lauren Schieffer and Sawyer. The program will also feature guest performers and choreographers Matt Rivera, the Big Rig Dance Collective and Rhythmic Souls, which is under the direction of Katelyn Harris.

Rivera’s professional experience includes theatrical performances such as “Mamma Mia!” in Las Vegas and the first national runs of “Swing!” and “Movin’ Out.” He also has performed with a variety of dance companies, including Twyla Tharp’s THARP, Hubbard Street Dance in Chicago, Cirque du Soleil and more.

The Big Rig Dance Collective is based in north Texas and produces contemporary dance works that investigate questions big and small through physical experience. Since 2010, the Big Rig Dance Collective has been creating a myriad of dance experiences in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area and has presented at many regional and national festivals throughout the United States.

Rhythmic Souls, under the direction of Harris, is a small company of rhythm tap dancers known for their unique blend of style, charisma, innovative choreography and rapid-fire footwork. Rhythmic Souls strives to bring the spirit of tap dance back to the stage and continues the legacy of this American art form. Their cross-genre repertoire infuses rhythm dance with body percussion, sand dancing, contemporary movement, flamenco, swing dance and anything else that might lend itself to rhythmic persuasion.

The Richland College dance program provides a challenging teaching and learning environment for students that values diversity and develops artistic excellence, fosters creative and collaborative practices and encourages personal agency and social responsibility in appreciating dance.

Richardson Recycles encourages people to recycle common items such as paper, cardboard, plastic and glass  not only to save landfill space, but  also to help the environment. The City of Richardson offers blue bag collection twice per week for single family homes and annually collects an average of 5,500 tons of recyclable material.

“Fire & Ice” is free and open to the public in the Fannin Performance Hall on the east side of the Richland College campus. Richland College is located at 12800 Abrams Road.