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Dancing at DSU: Dickinson State University's Form and Fusion Co. to present performance

The Dickinson State University Form & Fusion Dance Co. will showcase a variety of dance styles during its 12th annual spring performance.

"The dance company has been working all year to choreograph an original dance performance," Form & Fusion artist director Pattie Carr said. "We have a salsa-style dance, we have hip hop, Irish clogging and ballet. It's a real variety this year."

Student director Jessica Aparicio is choreographing three dances, which evolve loosely around the theme of evolution.

"We have lyrical and burlesque -- we've been working on choreography and ideas since last year," she said.

The students use their leadership skills to put the performance together, Carr said.

"They learn the collaborative process, they learn to work together," she added.

She credits DSU technical director Jarvis Jahner for bringing new technology to this year's performance.

"We also incorporated some of the things we learned from the Elisa Monte Dance Residency into the performance -- particularly new approaches to choreography," Carr said.

Robert Meador, an English education major, wrote four poems to be read while the dancers perform on stage.

"It's been a challenge, but it's been creatively enjoyable," Meador said. "I feel with any kind of language there's always a gap. I think dance kind of says more in some ways than poetry can and I think poetry says other things better."

The dancers come from a diversity of backgrounds.

"We have the theater majors who want to perform and then we have the teachers who want to do musicals," Carr said. "We also have the physical education majors who want to have a dance team."

The program encourages students to include cardio-weight training to develop strength.

"It's one of the reasons we have athletes -- dance is very athletic, and athletes transfer to dance very easily," she said.

Dance provides training for the whole person, the physical as well as emotional, she added.

"Dancers think outside the box -- almost all the dancers have contributed to the choreography," she said.

Assistant artist director Keneisha Miller has participated in the dance program for the last five years.

"I've seen quite a few dancers grow within themselves and it will be interesting to see them this year," she said.

Other choreographers are Bethany Schatz, Jermaine Christie, Devante Williams and Khulan Baasanjav.

Carr has seen DSU's dance program improve over the years.

"DSU's dance minor is a really active program -- we're able to do more technical, challenging things," she said. "The quality of the program goes up every year."

While the performance is a culmination of the students' work, the community also looks forward to the show, she said.

The performances are 7:30 p.m., Saturday and 2:30 p.m., Sunday, May 6, in Dorothy Stickney Auditorium.

Tickets are $6 for adults; seniors and students, $5, and DSU students, faculty and staff, free. For reservations, call 701-483-2154.