Unlock your inner performer

Residents participate in 34th annual Steamboat Dance Theater show

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The Steamboat Dance Theater has allowed local men and women to unlock their inner performers for more than three decades.

Beginning Thursday, county residents who typically might not dance in front of an audience will dress up, get on the Steamboat Springs High School stage and perform in the 34th annual Steamboat Dance Theater.

¤ 34th annual Steamboat Dance Theater

¤ 7:30 p.m. Thursday to March 4

¤ Steamboat Springs High School auditorium

¤ $18 for reserved seats; $15 for general admission; and $8 for students and seniors. Children 12 and younger will be admitted free at the March 2 show.

¤ 870-9977

"The great thing about the Steamboat Dance Theater is it lets everyone in," choreographer and dancer Penny Hamilton said. "It's a community-wide thing."

On Tuesday night, the local women practicing to The 5th Dimension song "Age of Aquarius" were in 1960s attire -- tie-dye T-shirts -- and flashing peace signs while linking beginning dance moves.

They repeatedly rehearsed the dance, sometimes to music, sometimes to the counts of choreographers Hamilton and Julie Tucek.

"It's a cool, fun thing," Hamilton said about the Dance Theater. "A lot of people don't realize how much of a commitment it takes. A lot goes into it."

Auditions were held in October, and rehearsals began in November. Because most of this year's performers aren't professionals, rehearsals have to be scheduled around jobs, vacations and families.

This year's choreographers are Hamilton, Tucek, Deb Curd, Kent Nightwalker, Robin Getter, Coleen Royal, Jen Lowe, Ryan Browning, Kate Johnson, Nora Parker, Tamara Bereznak and Molly Mintun.

Getter has choreographed an African dance and a jazz dance, which she used in a fashion show in 1987.

"It was a really fun piece," Getter said. "It was a duet, but now there are six people in it."

Nightwalker, who has been involved in the Steamboat Dance Theater for 20 years, is choreographing a piece to the Gorillaz' song "Feel Good Inc."

"It's pretty cool," Nightwalker said. "The girls are in red dresses and the guys are in all black. There is jazz movement, but it's funk."

This year, the Yampa Valley Community Foundation, Yampa Valley Legacy Foundation, Wells Fargo Bank, the Travis Family Memorial Endowment, Yampa Valley Electric Association and the Steamboat Springs Arts Council combined to contribute $6,500, which the Steamboat Dance Theater uses for community enrichment and outreach programs.

"We got into P.E. classes and teach dance and the importance of dance," Nightwalker said, highlighting one of the outreach programs.

Tap and belly dancing also will be featured in the shows, which run from Thursday to March 4.

Tickets are available at All That Jazz and the Depot Art Center.

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