July 20 2011 12:00 AM

Two programs feature groups of varying sizes and music of all styles


Two programs feature groups of varying sizes and music of all styles

In its first year the Community Dance Project was known as
the Choreographers Showcase, and it involved four choreographers and
eight dancers.

Now, in its seventh year, the project includes 42 dancers (both professionals and beginners) and 16 choreographers.

Melissa Lilje, artistic director of the CDP, says its 17
dances are set to a variety of tunes, including contemporary classical
music, country, and hip hop. The dances are divided into two shows:
Program A features casts of one to five dancers, while Program B
includes the more elaborate numbers.

 “There is one interesting choreographer (Katherine McKinney) —  she created a mash up list of Eminem and Lee Ann Womack, which I thought was an interesting project to take on,” Lilje said.

The project is directed by Lilje with the support of Lansing Community College and Happendance.

The mission is to give choreographers an opportunity to
experiment with new ideas; for dancers, it’s a chance to gain
performance experience.

It also tries to make modern dance more accessible to the public.

Before each
performance, the choreographer shares his or her intentions and process
with the audience. At the end of the show, audience members are
encouraged to share feedback with the performers. 

“My favorite thing is, I would say, the opportunity for
people to get on stage,” Lilje said. “You know, if you are a dancer in
this area, you don’t have that many opportunities for that. Sometimes
you have to be in other dance troupes, or take a class at LCC and get on
stage that way. But then again, those are all really expensive
high-time commitments.

“Community Dance is the only place people can get on stage
and experiment with new choreography, and it’s reasonably priced. We
ask dancers for a $35 donation to help pay for it for the whole summer.”

On July 30, CDP will hold a rummage sale fundraiser at the
Happendance studios in Okemos to offset the loss of grant funding this

“This project used to be funded by grants,” Lilje said.
“It’s not this year. This is the first year we have asked dancers to
donate money, and we weren’t sure how this was going to go — and we
found that everyone wanted to give and not go without this experience.”

Community Dance Project
Program A is performed at 8 p.m. Wednesday, July 27,
Dart Auditorium, Lansing Community College; 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 5,  (SCENE) Metrospace, 110 Charles St., East Lansing.
Program B is performed at 8 p.m. Thursday, July 28,
Dart Auditorium; 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 6, Lansing Jazz Fest, Old Town.
All performances are free.

Rummage sale fundraiser
9 a.m.-1 p.m.
Happendance Studios
3448 Hagadorn Road, Suite C, Okemos
(517) 333-3528