Southeast Prepares to ‘Spring into Dance’ in Second Dance Showcase of the Year



April 1, 2011 – The Department of Theatre and Dance at Southeast Missouri State University is performing a dance production in celebration of spring at 7:30 p.m. April 14-16 and 2 p.m. April 17.  “Spring into Dance 2011” is scheduled to be performed in the Donald C. Bedell Performance Hall at the River Campus.

Highlighting the concert will be a collaborative effort among Southeast’s Department of Theatre and Dance, Department of Music and Department of Art centered around Gustav Holst’s “The Planets” — Mars, Venus, Mercury and Jupiter. The Southeast Wind Ensemble, under the direction of Marty Reynolds, along with percussion, will perform in the pit, giving the piece a live musical element. Chris Wubbena, assistant professor of art, along with several of his students, will create and build original sculpture pieces that will be on stage and manipulated by the dancers during the work. Hilary Peterson, artistic coordinator and instructor of theatre and dance, will choreograph Mars. Marc Strauss, professor of theatre and dance, will choreograph Mercury, and Philip Edgecombe, instructor of theatre and dance, will choreograph Jupiter. All three choreographers will collaborate on the choreography for Venus.

“This is the first project of this type and magnitude since the opening of the River Campus, and we hope to create a spark within our respective departments to continue this kind of work,” Peterson said. “We also hope to excite the audience with this project and educate them about the collaborative possibilities between all the artistic elements at Southeast.”

The concert will also feature a piece titled “Sabor a Mi” by guest artist Susan Quinn.   Her work is supported in part by a grant from the Missouri Arts Council. 

Quinn trained under the famed Gus Giordano, and was a principal dancer with Gus Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago for 10 years.  She also became a faculty member and later the company’s associate artistic director.   Ms. Quinn has taught master classes in jazz dance in Colorado, California, Kansas and Chicago, and is on the faculty for the Jazz Dance World Congress.  A master teacher for Dance Master’s of America and Dance Educators of America, she is also the director of the 13th Annual Arizona Jazz Dance Showcase. Along with Michael Williams, Quinn was honored with the 2005 Jazz Dance Congress Award for her considerable contributions to jazz dance. She is currently an assistant professor at The University of Arizona in Tucson and was awarded the College of Fine Arts Teaching Excellence Award in 2001, in the Dance Division, School of Music and Dance.  Quinn’s choreography has been performed at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., to the Amsterdam School of the Arts in Amsterdam, Holland and her work, “Texas Canyon,” won a choreographer’s award at the National Association of Regional Ballet (N.A.R.B.) and will be submitted in the dance archives, The Craft of Choreography.

“The ‘Spring into Dance’ concert is a group of individual pieces that vary widely in scope and style,” Peterson said. “The concert is created new each year by our Southeast dance faculty and dance students so each concert is different from the last.” 

Edgecombe said, dance concerts such as “Spring into Dance 2011” are broken into segments often by different choreographers that deal with varied themes. 

“I feel that people really enjoy the variety,” he said. 

This popular dance showcase presents choreography of Southeast’s professional faculty, guest artists and students. 

“The concert is an opportunity for the choreographers and students to create, prepare and perform original works that challenge their skills and creativity,” Peterson said.

A similar production called, “Fall for Dance 2010,” was performed in December.  These concerts feature new and unique choreographed pieces in a variety of styles such as modern, jazz, tap and contemporary ballet.

“The pieces vary widely in content and style, so there’s almost always a ‘favorite part’ but those best parts change for each concert,” Edgecombe explained.

“I enjoy seeing the signature that a choreographer leaves on his/her movement and what the dancer does with that vocabulary,” Peterson said.

Peterson added audiences should expect to see, “Interesting, stimulating and beautiful dance performed at a high level of expertise.  The audience can expect graceful and athletic performers in artistic, visually exciting works that delight and challenge.” 

“Spring into Dance 2011” will entertain and interest all audiences. 

Peterson exclaimed, “It’ll be a night of exciting dance.”


Tickets may be purchased at the River Campus Box Office, located in the Cultural Arts Center, 518 S. Fountain St., weekdays, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., or by calling (573) 651-2265. Tickets also may be purchased at any MetroTix outlet, online at, keyword “Spring Dance,” or by calling toll-free: (800) 293-5949.