Arts & Culture

Dance through the ages

Sharon Rogers purposely calls her annual student dance performance a concert, not a recital.

A recital tends to be long and disorganized and not very interesting to anyone but the parents of the performers.

But Rogers, who will put on her 36th student concert —"Dance Through The Ages" — this weekend at Friends University, is a perfectionist who expects professional performances, even from her youngest ballerinas.

"For me, the final result needs to be as professional as we can make it, utilizing all the talents of these children," she said. "Even if people don't know anyone who's in the performance, they still will enjoy it."

"Dance Through The Ages" is a carefully planned and narrated performance featuring the students of Rogers Ballet, who range from 4-year-old beginners to college-age ballet majors.

It'll take audience members on a journey through the history of dance, from cave dwellers represented by young dancers in leopard-print costumes to college-age dancers performing a contemporary piece choreographed by Stan Rogers, the director of ballet at Friends.

Sharon Rogers will narrate the show, explaining the significance of the dances, including a 1920s-esque Charleston and some 1950s-era rock-n-roll dancing,

Rogers' youngest students will perform a tribute to Shirley Temple to the tune of "Animal Crackers in My Soup," and some of her mature dancers will present variations from the "Sleeping Beauty" ballet.

Rogers always chooses a theme for her concerts, and she spends an entire year preparing them.

She chooses the music, selects the costumes and choreographs the dances. She then works on the dances over and over with the students until even the youngest ones could perform in their sleep.

"I'm pretty detailed," Rogers said. "I want everything to be accurate. Authenticity is important to me."

It's so important, Rogers said, that she admits she's already planning next year's show, even as this one is preparing to take the stage.

"I think the whole show this year is just going to be fun and enjoyable and educational," she said.

Even for those who don't know any of the performers.

If you go

'Dance Through The Ages'

What: Dance concert by students of Rogers Ballet

Where: Sebits Auditorium, Riney Fine Arts Center, Friends University

When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday

How much: Admission is free; Seating is open.

For more information, call 316- 263-8014