Steamboat Dance Theatre, Perry-Mansfield and Bud Werner Memorial Library team up for dance film series |

Steamboat Dance Theatre, Perry-Mansfield and Bud Werner Memorial Library team up for dance film series

Nicole Inglis

— To teach dance, Joan Lazarus knows it's not enough to talk about it.

"You have to see it," she said. "I don't know anyone who doesn't have a visceral reaction to dance, even if they haven't trained."

The new director of Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School and Camp and a former dance professor, Lazarus is teaming up with local dance nonprofit Steamboat Dance Theatre and Bud Werner Memorial Library to present a new Dance on Film series.

The first event is Thursday, screening "First Position," a documentary on the preparations of elite young ballet dancers for the competition of a lifetime and the chance to enter the professional ballet world.

On Feb. 11, the artistic and sometimes surrealistic "Pina" will be featured. The film presents the work of famed choreographer and dancer Pina Bausch in a moving tribute.

Library adult programs coordinator Jennie Lay, who was inspired to launch the series by three new dance documentaries that came out in 2012, said these films are a way to present professional dance to the local community.

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"It's another way to be exposed to this really special performing art form," Lay said. "We have a vibrant local dance community, and people can be exposed to a lot of things through that. But we don't have a lot of professional dancers of the caliber you're exposed to on film."

"Pina," she said, is visually enrapturing.

"It's breathtaking," said Lay, who knew she wanted to screen the film in Steamboat after she first watched it last May. "It is so much eye candy. The dance in itself is eclectic and deep, and the way it was filmed is an art in itself."

March 4 will be "Never Stand Still," a documentary about an East Coast dance school called Jacob’s Pillow. Martha Graham's 1959 "Dance on Film" will screen April 11.

All events are at 6:30 p.m. at Library Hall, and Lazarus will be on hand as a commentator.

A dance educator and former executive director of the Oakland Ballet and the WestWave Dance Festival of new choreography, Lazarus said it was a "no-brainer" when Lay called her to ask if she wanted to get involved with the film series.

"I really believe that dance, or movement — that body-mind integration — it changes who you are and therefore changes the world," Lazarus said.

To reach Nicole Inglis, call 970-871-4204 or email

Dance on Film series schedule

Jan. 10: “First Position”

Feb. 11: “Pina”

March 4: “Never Stand Still”

April 1: “Dance on Film”

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