Regional dance festival celebrates 22nd year

Dancers participating in the Snowy Range Dance Festival rehearse in 2016 in the Buchanan Center for the Performing Arts.

The Snowy Range Summer Dance Festival — now in its 22nd year — invites dance students from throughout the region to the University of Wyoming for 10 days of professional lessons in modern dance, ballet, tap, jazz and more.

Hosted by UW’s Department of Theatre and Dance, the 2017 festival will be taught in part by guest resident faculty from the Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company.

Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company is an internationally renowned dance group dedicated to spreading appreciation of dance through educational outreach opportunities, said Stephanie Young, a spokesperson for the department.

“Throughout their tour, they focus on their outreach program, so it was a really great opportunity for us to be able to bring them along for this festival,” Young said.

During the festival-intensive, dance students from throughout Wyoming and surrounding states receive instruction from Ririe-Woodbury faculty, as well as from a few other guest artists, including Kellye Saunders, a Dance Theatre of Harlem ballet master.

Students attending the festival will take technique classes, as well as “rep” classes — in which students learn choreographed pieces, either original or taken from the instructor’s “repertoire.”

The festival is also open to dance instructors, who are welcome to attend and engage in one-on-one discussions with the professionals.

“We supply not only professional-level training for our dancers, but then different workshops for our instructors to develop their pedagogy through this and supply them with different ways to lead a class or supply instruction,” Young said.

The public is invited to two performances connected to the festival.

The first performance is a student showcase concert, during which the festival’s students will perform dance numbers prepared before the festival and learned in their respective studios.

“The student showcase is a really fun aspect that we have because we have a wide range of different studios coming in,” Young said.

Free to the public, the student showcase starts 7 p.m. Tuesday in the UW Arts and Sciences Auditorium.

The second performance, a gala concert, will begin with the festival’s students performing what they learned and practiced under the leadership of Ririe-Woodbury instructors during the intensive.

“Then — because we are hosting the Ririe-Woodbury Company — we will be having a whole half concert just of them and their ‘rep’ pieces,” Young said.

“ … We can promote their company as well as showing what they supplied our students throughout the festival.”

The gala concert starts 4 p.m. July 22 also in the UW Arts and Sciences Auditorium.

Tickets to the gala concert are $12.

Call 766-6666 or go to for tickets or more information.

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