The increasing popularity of competitive “dance-off” programs has been one of the happier outcomes of the rise of reality TV. Even for us natural-born klutzes, there’s a visceral thrill in watching people who have mastered various dance forms to the degree that they can play their own bodies like a Stradivarius.
But dance is not an art best confined to the small screen; it belongs on a stage. Yet how many of us even think of going out for an evening to watch a live dance performance, if one of our kids isn’t in it? If you need a nudge to conclude that it’s time to rediscover the undiluted pleasure of watching live dance, check out this video collage of numbers from the Ulster Ballet Company’s Festival of Dance two years ago:
You may find yourself moved to come out this Saturday evening to catch the 33rd iteration of the annual extravaganza organized by Ulster Ballet.
The lineup of companies changes each year, but there’s always a broad range of dance styles and techniques represented. The 2016 program includes classical ballet, modern, ballroom, jazz, theatrical, hip hop and Irish dance. This year’s performers – some local, some not; some schools, some professionals – are the D’amby Project, the Ellen Sinopoli Dance Company, the Energy Dance Company, the Nai Ni Chen Dance Company, the Neville Dance Theatre, Silver Screen Ballroom and the Syncopated City Dance Company. There’s an emphasis on original choreography rather than revivals of hoary old standards. Expert a surprising, diverse and diverting evening.
The Ulster Ballet Company’s Festival of Dance takes flight at 8 p.m. on Saturday, March 19 at the Ulster Performing Arts Center (UPAC), located at 601 Broadway in Kingston. Tickets cost $22 general admission, $18 for seniors and UPAC/Bardavon members and $15 for children age 12 and under and groups of ten or more. To order, call (845) 339-6088 or visit the UPAC box office or https://upac.org. Tickets (but not the member discount) are also available via Ticketmaster.