Dance Residency Inspires Annual Spring Concert

“David and Irene encouraged several traits important to our dance students: self-confidence, aspirations to achieve and improve and a sense of belonging and contributing to a community.” — Hazel Sabas

The Alma College Dance Company will perform ballet, modern, jazz and highland dance selections at its annual spring concert, including a pair of works set for the company by internationally renowned dancers David Campos and Irene Sabas.

The performances will take place at 8 p.m. Friday, March 21 and Saturday, March 22 and 3 p.m. Sunday, March 23 in the Remick Heritage Center. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for seniors 62 and up, and free for Alma College staff, students and youth 18 and under. Seating is reserved. Call (989) 463-7304 for ticket information.

The husband-and-wife team of Campos and Sabas will stage “Paquita,” a classical ballet suite set in the house of a well-known Spanish nobleman, and “Inquietudes,” an original work designed to express the moods of loneliness and uncertainty felt in moments of solitude.

Irene and Hazel SabasIrene and Hazel Sabas

Invited to Alma by Hazel Sabas, Irene’s sister and the new director of the Alma College Dance Company, the visiting artists hope to introduce Alma’s dance students “to the greater possibilities of what this beautiful art form can offer in their personal, artistic and professional growth.”

“During their two-week residency, David and Irene encouraged several traits important to our dance students: self-confidence, aspirations to achieve and improve, responsibility, and a sense of belonging and contributing to a community,” says Hazel Sabas. “Their interaction also helped our students discover the integrity of cultures different from their own.”

Hazel Sabas and Alma College faculty colleagues Kristen Bennett and Kate DeGood, along with Alma students, also contributed choreography for the spring concert.

The program includes two dances choreographed by Hazel Sabas. “Duet,” a contemporary ballet that features music by Joann Sebastian Bach, is inspired by the elements of nature. “Reminiscent,” a piece that features the popular songs “Stardust” by Nat King Cole and “Crazy by Patsy Cline, is inspired from Filipino folk dance and modern-based methodology.

Bennett’s choreography includes “Coldest Winter” by Kanye West. The movement represents a replay — when the listener hears a static sound, the movement re-sets itself and the dancers start again.

“As I was creating this movement, I was reminded of reliving memories or starting fresh after a major life event,” says Bennett. “The song speaks on ‘memories made in the coldest winter,’ and I tried to help the dancers embody that story with their movements.”

“The Rest is Silence,” also by Bennett, involves the entire company and features the song “Let the Sunshine In” from the musical, “Hair.” The piece, set in the 1960s during the Vietnam War, tells the story of one being sent to war.

The show also includes “Traditional Highland Dance Medley,” choreographed by DeGood to express the bridge between ballet and highland technique.

The student-choreographed works include “The Finish Line” by Farmington Hills senior Erica Frasier, “O Green World” by Novi senior Chelsea Radgens, and “Us,” a collaborative work by 10 students exploring choreographic elements of space, shape, time and dynamics.

About David Campos:

Born in Barcelona, David Campos began his ballet training at the Institut del Teatre of Barcelona. As young soloist, he began his dance career in Staedtische Bühne Hagen in Germany. Later, he joined the Royal Ballet of Flanders in Belgium, where he developed an international career performing throughout Europe and the United States. Upon returning to Barcelona with his wife, dancer Irene Sabas, to be principal dancers with Ballet de Barcelona, they also soon founded their own school specializing in classical ballet, Escola Ballet David Campos.

Campos, a gifted choreographer, is frequently invited to teach at various companies and dance academics and sit as jury of major dance competitions. His dance company, Ballet David Campos, applies a distinct style of choreography that is recognized worldwide. In 2013, as choreographer, Campos was invited by the Bolshoi Ballet Academy to mount two ballets for the graduating students of the famous Russian Academy.

About Irene Sabas:

Irene Sabas began studying dance in her hometown, Manila, Philippines. She received a two-year British Council scholarship to study at the prestigious Royal Ballet School in London, working closely with renowned teachers and Royal Ballet principal dancers. As a soloist, Irene worked with many of the world’s grand ballet masters.

As principal dancer with Dance Theatre Philippines, Irene has danced lead roles such as “Swanhilda” in the full-length ballet Coppelia, Don Quixote Grand Pas, Cinderella, and La Fille Mal Gardee Pas de Deux. Later, as soloist she entered the Staedtische Bühne Hagen, Germany, and the Royal Ballet of Flanders (Belgium), where she danced “Masha” in “The Three Sisters” “Adelaide” in “The Idiot,” Carmina Burana (Butler), and ballets by Nils Christie and George Balanchine, dancing all over Europe, America and Asia.

Irene works as head ballet mistress at Escola Ballet David Campos. She is frequently invited to teach at dance conservatories in Spain and internationally.


Story published on March 06, 2014
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