Vashon Center for Dance (VCD) will present “Pictures at an Exhibition” and “Alice in Wonderland” at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, June 1 and 2, and at 1 p.m. Sunday, June 3, in the Katherine L White Hall.
Pictures at an Exhibition
Set to the music of Modest Mussorgsky and Maurice Ravel, “Pictures at an Exhibition” is a collaborative work between island artist and “dance dad” Jonathan Kuzma, VCD Artistic Director Vadne Domeika and her senior dance students. The idea for the production came from Kuzma whose longtime intrigue with “Pictures at an Exhibition” began after he learned how it came to be: In 1874, Mussorgsky wrote a collection of piano solos in honor of artist/architect Viktor Hartmann by imagining he was walking through a posthumous exhibition of his friend’s work. Nearly 50 years later, Ravel completed an orchestration of the piano collection.
“I see a thread of inspiration (in this story) running from artist to artist. Friendship and grief inspired Mussorgsky, and his creation, in turn, inspired Ravel,” Kuzma said. “My fascination with ‘Pictures’ grew with the years, and I imagined small scenes to accompany each of the eclectic sections. (The score) has such a memorable opening theme, many sections of widely varying moods and textures, and a thrilling finale —perfect for dance.”
Domeika agreed and saw it as an exciting vehicle for her advanced students.
“This is contemporary ballet en pointe,” she said. “We have a great love and respect for classical ballets, and we train in the classical way daily, but this music and the art it is based on called for something different. After seeing what our advanced dancers created for ‘Original Works’ in March, I decided to make this a collaborative effort. We have some fabulous choreographers, and I would be remiss if I didn’t help them hone their craft. I am so impressed by what they came up with, and I am sure our audience will be, too.”
The piece will showcase three graduating students, Kelsey Morrison, Grace Derrer, Emma Rose DeSantis and honorary graduate Marisa McTighe plus feature Kuzma’s daughter, Mia Giovanna, 15. Large reproductions of Hartmann’s art will be incorporated into the set. Kate Guinee created original costumes, and Ethan DeLorenzo is the lighting designer.
“I’m excited to see my love of Mussorgsky and Ravel come to life on stage through the talents of Vadne and the young dancers,” Kuzma added.
Alice in Wonderland
This contemporary ballet based on Lewis C. Carroll’s eponymous work is set to Joby Talbot’s beautiful score.
When Alice follows the mesmerizing White Rabbit down his rabbit hole, she meets a variety of characters danced by VCD’s ballet, tap, modern, hip-hop and creative movement students.
Domeika said she chose the ballet as it “allowed us the freedom to incorporate all our styles of dance, and the music is fabulous.”
While Domeika choreographed most of the dances, she had help from tap teacher Crissy Baker, who she said “wears more hats at VCA than I can list,” and also from Rico Lastrapes, a working performer and “fabulous teacher.” Longtime VCD dancer, teacher and choreographer Kathleen Bonner choreographed the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, which Domeika said “is a hoot.”
Costumes are by Kate Guinee and lighting design is by Ethan DeLorenzo.
June 1, at 7pm | June 2 at 1pm & 7pm | June 3 at 1pm
Advance Tickets: $12 Member/student $14 Senior, $16 General
Tickets at the Door: $18 for all tickets
Vashon Center for Dance (VCD) has served the Vashon community for more than two decades. The spacious studios are located in the historic Odd Fellows Hall, now called the “Blue Heron Education Center, and have sprung floors with regulation-height barres. Classes are taught with both live accompaniment and recorded music. VCD faculty includes 10 instructors who teach 32 classes per week for 250 students. VCD presents three full-scale productions annually on the sprung stage in the Katherine L White Hall.