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Spring Ballet at Friends

The Friends University ballet department will present its 22nd spring program this weekend. Here's some of what you'll see:

1) In honor of Kansas' 150th birthday this year, ballet director Stan Rogers is bringing back his work titled "The Great Plains," last performed about nine years ago. The piece celebrates the pioneer spirit of the people who settled the Sunflower State by depicting — through dance — the cycle of life, with all its joys, hardships, setbacks, perseverance and triumphs.

2) Also on the program will be two short ballets, one of them a premiere, created by former Friends graduate Melonie Buchanan, now head of dance at Mesa State University in Grand Junction, Colo. Buchanan, who graduated from Friends in the early 1980s, will introduce "A Reckoning Force" and the premiere of "Solice." Both are abstract ballets without storylines.

3) Rounding out the program will be two short works by Rogers. One is a preview of an unfinished work set to eclectic orchestral work of contemporary British composer Thomas Ades. The other is an encore of "Red," which describes color through dance movement set to more music by Arvo Part.

Performances are at 7:30 p.m. today and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday in Sebits Auditorium in Riney Fine Arts Center on the Friends campus. Tickets are $15 for adults, and $12 for seniors and students. Reserve tickets at 316-295-5677.

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