The 30th annual Festival of Dance returns to the Ulster Performing Arts Center (UPAC) stage in Kingston on Saturday, March 23 at 8 p.m. This yearly showcase of local dance and choreography is sponsored by the Ulster Ballet Company. Co-artistic directors Scarlett Fiero and Quiedo Carbone draw top dance companies to the event each year, highlighting aspiring and professional dancers and choreographers in a diverse range of styles and techniques.
Ulster Ballet Company board member Carol Werner says that, since this is a milestone anniversary, the Company is particularly happy to welcome back some groups that it hasn’t hosted the last few years, while welcoming aboard several dance companies brand-new to the event. “The goal all along has been to represent different dance groups from Albany to New York and give these groups an outlet to perform and become known to the public,” says Werner. Among the troupes new to the festival are the Nacre Dance Company of Albany, a contemporary dance company that broadens the traditions of classic modern dance, and the D’Amby Project, an Irish step-dancing group with contemporary dance influences.
Back for the fourth year is the popular duo Lou Brock and Heather Gehring, whose trademarked “Ballroom Dancing for Tough Guys” performances are billed as “glamorous, steamy and funny partner dancing.” Another popular act is the award-winning Energy Dance Company of Kingston, returning for its fifth year with the Festival, whose members integrate elements of hip-hop, reggae and Latin in their dances. “It’s amazing to see what these young people can do,” says Werner. “They’re a lot of fun. There might be 20 to 30 of them onstage at one time, and yet they’re all in sync perfectly.”
The Ellen Sinopoli Dance Company, resident company at the Egg Center for the Performing Arts in Albany, is the company with the longest history of performing at the Festival (other than the Ulster Ballet Company, which sponsors the event), returning for its 18th year.
Admission to the Festival of Dance costs $19 for adults, $15 for seniors and students, and group discounts are available.