Steamboat Dance Theatre performers prepare to take the stage | SteamboatToday.com

Steamboat Dance Theatre performers prepare to take the stage

— For a few heart-stopping, exhilarating minutes on stage, dancers are exposed, vulnerable and subject to audience interpretations.

But what is it about moving our bodies to a song we love? Why do we fixate on perfection? Why put ourselves through the physical fatigue and strain on the body?

Perhaps dancers are dedicated to this performance art for the rush they get from performing on stage, for the physical fitness, or maybe, for mental clarity — an escape.

Though the answer may differ for each performer, dance remains as the connecting thread that has brought roughly 120 Steamboat residents together, each with unique layers of experience, personality and talent.

On Thursday, Feb. 16, those countless hours of rehearsing will finally come to fruition starting at 7 p.m. and running nightly through Saturday, Feb. 18, plus a matinee performance on Saturday, Feb. 18 starting at 11 a.m. The dance performances will take place on the Steamboat Springs High School auditorium stage.

Each year, the funds raised from the concert will help provide dance scholarships to local students.

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“We spend months rehearsing these pieces weekly with so many different people we might not have met otherwise — and the relationships that develop between us as dancers are quite profound and unique,” said Laraine Martin, dancer and choreographer for the piece “In Time.”

Throughout the past five months, I’ve discovered that Steamboat Dance Theatre has the uncanny ability to transcend the performance, movement and the art, itself.

One of the show's choreographers and producers, Mandy Quinones, faced unforeseen loss and heartbreak, but still found inspiration for this year’s collaboration piece, "Unsteady —Justin Caruso Remix," with choreographers Amy Curry, Danielle Zimmerer and Kim Chotvacs.

“I initially started to choreograph this piece in memory of a good friend that I lost this summer," Quinones said. "I thought that my connection to ‘the human condition’ (this year’s concept) would be about grief."

But then she discovered something that took her and many other Steamboat Dance Theatre dancers or choreographers by surprise.

"I was overwhelmed by my fellow dancers and their support when I came to them and asked for help," Quinones said. "Throughout the season, my piece was becoming more about love, support and lifting one another up than about grief. My dance community made something tragic and heart wrenching into something beautiful, and I’ll forever be grateful to them for that.”

This year's theme, "The Human Condition," explores the marvels and mysteries of the human mind through the lens of dance. The interpretation of this theme has presented itself throughout every rehearsal, inside and outside of the studio.

Frustration, doubt and fear settled into my subconscious a few months into rehearsals. Maybe it was my 8-year-old self as a dancer, looking to the other girls dancing next to me, elegant and poised, while I was seemingly tall, lanky and uncoordinated.

But then, Martin read something from her journal, which described her interpretation of the dance, that struck a chord.

"We rebel when our fears take control, we make mistakes, take wrong turns, give ourselves pep talks in the bathroom," Martin said. "It's difficult to cede control in the face of our fears. There is a whole unspoken gamut of emotion that lies beneath our daily struggles, and it often proves to be our best vehicle for creativity and inspiration — because it's what makes us so very complex and human."

After reflecting on her words, I sought to find the answer to why we dance.

The answer, however, is complex. It's imperceptible and indescribable, yet we each take that leap outside our comfort zone to revel in those moments that make us feel alive.

To purchase tickets visit steamboatdancetheatre.org.

To reach Audrey Dwyer, call 970-871-4229, email adwyer@steamboattoday.com or follow her on Twitter @Audrey_Dwyer1

If You Go…

What: Steamboat Dance Theatre present the 45th Annual Community Dance Concert

When: 7 p.m. Feb. 16 – Feb. 18

(doors at 6:30 p.m.)

Where: Steamboat Springs High School auditorium, 45 Maple St.