Steamboat students produce, choreograph and direct diverse Dance Showcase |

Steamboat students produce, choreograph and direct diverse Dance Showcase

Nicole Inglis

Dancers perform "Eyes on Fire" while rehearsing for this year's Dance Showcase inside the Steamboat Springs High School auditorium Tuesday night. The student-run production will hold performances at 7 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

— In its 17 years of existence, the student-run Steamboat Springs High School Dance Showcase hasn't had a reputation for being a male-dominated event. Nor is it known for being a risky or dangerous activity compared to other sports.

But country dance choreographer Landen Mertz talks about all the rehearsals they held on the wrestling mats practicing lifts, dips and throws to prepare for this week's performances.

"It's been intense," he said about choreographing the country swing moves with a group of 10 high school boys who were new to dancing. "It'd be great to get more guys involved."

Jessica Bertrand, one of the show's two directors, said it's been a boon sharing the stage with a growing number of male dancers, including freshman Parker Temple, who appeared in a goofy hip-hop piece as the only male dancer outside the country piece.

"They bring a boy charisma to it," Bertrand said. "Boys are so crazy and silly, it's fun having them around."

Dance Showcase performances are at 7 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Tickets are $8 for students, $12 for adults and $15 for reserved seating. Tickets are available at All That Jazz and at Steamboat Springs High School.

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The program runs the gamut of dance genres with belly dance, hip-hop, contemporary, country and jazz styles set to music touching on everything from 1990s rap to indie rock to dubstep.

Every piece is the blood-sweat-and-tears product of local high school students (some dancers came over from The Lowell Whiteman School), who choreographed every bit of the 60-person show.

Twenty-two high school students poured their heart, soul and time into choreographing the 18 pieces, while the four-woman production team (Bertrand, Sydney Finkbohner, Miranda Salky and Liesl Lord) was responsible for orchestrating a smooth, cohesive show onstage.

It's no small feat, especially when the showcase becomes part of a balancing act among budget concerns, costume organizing and the small issue of homework and applying to college.

"A lot of the pieces in the audition phase were really rough," said Lord, who produced the show alongside Salky. "Seeing everyone's final product, it definitely brings a smile to your face."

Directors Bertrand and Finkbohner said one of the main draws of participating in Dance Showcase is that it's a rewarding but noncompetitive activity.

"You're not pressured to be the best on the team," Bertrand said. "It's just for fun."

She said the reward for her as a director comes in leaving a legacy of Dance Showcase to the younger dancers in the school that will last long beyond her graduation.

"It's just seeing all (the dancers) and how they're proud of themselves," Bertrand said. "It's really mostly rewarding for me to see it come together into something the whole town can enjoy."

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

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