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Richland College Dance Program Presents ‘Thriller’ Fall Concert

The Richland College dance program will be preying on our fear of the unknown with an upcoming fall dance concert, “Thriller,” at 12:30 and 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 3.

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

“Thriller” is about exploring the mystery of the unknown through dance performance. Each choreographer has created a unique take on the subject, ranging from celebrating recognizable images in pop culture to conceptual pieces addressing surreal fantasy.

Sawyer also created an original piece, “The Scream,” which will be performed by Richland students.

“I am hoping to get a reaction of discomfort by abstracting and juxtaposing everyday and invented movements in a bizarre fashion, allowing the visual imagery of the dance to build in intensity until it reaches out and grabs the audience,” Sawyer said of her piece.

In addition to Sawyer, choreography will include original pieces by Cooper Delgado, Christie Nelson and Lauren Schieffer. Repertoire will include a tap piece from Dallas legend Buster Cooper, recreated by his granddaughter, guest artist Keira Leverton. The Dallas Neo-Classical Ballet Company under the direction of Emilie Skinner will also guest perform.

Kiera Leverton comes from a dance background—her grandfather was Buster Cooper, an influential tap dancer who founded the dance program at the Hockaday School. Much of her exposure to the tap community was through tap festivals such as the Chicago Human Rhythm Project and the Third Coast Rhythm Project, and she trained with a variety of professionals, including Gregory Hines and Yuji Uragami. Leverton has performed worldwide at venues such as Radio City Music Hall and Wembley Stadium in London.

Dallas Neo-Classical Ballet was established in 2011 as a nonprofit organization to bring concerts emphasizing neo-classical ballet to the Dallas-Fort Worth community, while also creating a venue for experienced classical dancers to utilize their training. The company’s dancers are primarily from the north Texas region.

Neoclassical ballet is the style of classical ballet exemplified by sophisticated and modern choreography, retaining the pointe shoe aesthetic, but often without the excessive drama and mime of the full length story ballets of previous eras.

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.

“Thriller” 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.