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Austin Peay State University played host to the Middle Tennessee Regional Dance Gala

On Saturday evening the best in dance from across Middle  Tennessee converged on Austin Peay State University in the middle of Historic Downtown Clarksville, TN to perform in the Tennessee Association of Dance’s Middle  (TAD) Tennessee Regional Gala. The 2010 Regional Gala highlights professional Dance Companies and University Ensembles  in the Middle Tennessee area. This years competition included performances from APSU’s Dance Ensemble, Belmont University/Epiphany, Company Rose, Middle Tennessee State University, the Nashville Ballet, Nashville in Motion, Stillpoint Dance Theatre, and the Vanderbilt Dance Theatre.

The Gala was part of the Tennessee Association of Dance’s 41st annual statewide conference which included a weekend of dance featuring master classes and seminars with nationally known dance artists.  It is their mission to ensure that dance is a vital and respected part of the life of all Tennesseans.

Vanderbilt Dance Theatre performing Le Corsaire: Dance of the Odalisques
Vanderbilt Dance Theatre performing Le Corsaire: Dance of the Odalisques

“We are excited and privileged to showcase to the public the quality companies and university groups  in the Middle Tennessee area. This evening is made possible in Part by the generous support of the Tennessee Arts Commission, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Capezio Foundation, and our co-hosts Austin Peay State University. Many thanks to all those involved in producing this weekend of dance, most especially Marcus Hayes, Assistant Professor of Dance at APSU and Sarah Englert, TAD Gala Coordinator.” said Karen Wilson, the Executive Director of the Tennessee Association of Dance.

The program consisted of nine very different numbers, all of them expertly performed. The most innovative were Look Ma!  No hands! by the Belmont University Dance Company, Voices in the Night by Epiphany, and Beauty… by the Stillpoint Dance Theatre. Of course the Nashville Ballet and the Vanderbilt Dance Theatre’s classical ballet performances were absolutely flawless, and I hold a special place in my heart for APSU’s Dance Ensemble.

The Companies

Austin Peay State University Dance Ensemble (Marcus Hayes, Artistic Director) was established in 2006 in conjunction with the establishment of the Dance Minor Program housed within the area of Theatre and Dance at APSU.  Performance students are invited to audition for the Dance Ensemble and can be seen performing in the annual Spring Dance Concert, the Fall Student Choreography Showcase, The Departmental Music Theatre productions, the American College Dance Festival Association, and various other venues on campus , and throughout the Greater Clarksville Area.

Belmont University Dance Company (Debra Belue, Artistic Director) was established in 2004 in coordination with the Dance Minor Program  in Belmont’s Department of Theatre and Dance. Students are selected by audition and have the opportunity to study ballet, modern, jazz, and tap. They perform in various venues around the area. The upcoming annual concert Mixed Bill VII is scheduled for April 29th-May 1st 2011 in the Troutt Theatre on the Belmont Campus.

Company Rose (Marsha Barsky, Artistic Director) is a Nashville based contemporary dance group, founded in 2008 by Marsha Barsky. The Company’s work explorers the poetics of the body in subtle, playful, and dynamically spontaneous ways. Company Rose sojourns in a host of public and private spaces as a way of both spreading and inspiring new forms of contemporary dance expression. Uniquely Southern, rooted in the South East of the United States, Company Rose brings sophisticated dance to a tradition bound region lush with possibilities.

Epiphany Dance Company (Debra Belue, Artistic Director)  is a professional modern company dedicated to using dance to communicate modern messages rooted in a tradition of faith. Dance penetrates the heart, connecting with the receivers spirit, rather than requiring an intellectual response. Its dances are meant to identify the seen and unseen realities of the profane and the sacred. The company’s knowledge of historic and contemporary dance  practice promises artistic excellence and innovation. Seeking the extraordinary in expressive movement, Epiphany inspires and educates performers and audiences alike. Founded by Grete Gryzwana in 1994, Epiphany is the resident dance company of Christ Church Cathedral in Nashville and performs regularly at various venues and conferences in the area.

MTSU Dance Theatre (Kim Neal Nofsinger, Artistic Director), founded in 2005, provides  an exciting vehicle for performance experiences at Middle Tennessee State University. Company members perform in faculty choreography, adjudicated student compositions, and repertory works set by distinguished guest artists in workshops and residencies. Membership in MTSU dance Theatre is by audition only. Auditions are held at the beginning of the fall semester and the end of the fall semester for the spring term. Company members include both MTSU undergraduate and graduate students. The MTSU Dance Theatre provides opportunities for audiences to see high-quality performances of ballet, jazz, tap, and modern dance. MTSU Dance Theatre Company Members participate annually in the American College Dance Festival.  Additionally, students have performed in various venues throughout the region. Past performance opportunities have included the Tennessee Governor’s School for the Arts, Shelter Repertory Dance Theatre, and at Vanderbilt University.

The Nashville Ballet (Paul Vasterling, Artistic Director), founded in 1981 as a civic dance company,  it is the largest professional ballet company in Tennessee. As the second largest producing arts organization in the  Middle Tennessee Area. Nashville Ballet presents a varied repertoire of classical ballet and contemporary works by noted choreographers, along with original works by Artistic Director Paul Vasterling. The Nashville Ballet and the second company NB2 (a pre-professional training company) serve nearly 70,000 adults and children annually through performances, and our education and outreach program Learning Curves. Our curriculum-based outreach program brings dance education to community centers, colleges, public libraries, eight resident schools, and public elementary  and middle schools  over a 15-county region throughout Middle Tennessee.  The School of Nashville Ballet provides world-class instruction in Ballet for the dancers of tomorrow.

Stillpoint Dance Theatre (Sharon Perry, Artistic Director), is a contemporary dance company based in Nashville since 2005. They are committed to creating quality and relevant works of art with the motivation to  bring reconciliation to families, cultures, nations, and ultimately to man and his creator. Because we affirm the value of every person, through dance theatre or hope is to reveal the beauty, humor, truth, and joy in our lives and yet to also bring awareness of human suffering and social injustices.  Our desire is to call people into the “eye of the storm,” and to inspire the imagination for creative peace-making and cultural interaction and awareness. www.stillpointdt.com

Vanderbilt Dance Theatre (Thom Shoemaker, Artistic Director) provides an exciting vehicle for performing experience at Vanderbilt University. Company members perform in faculty choreography and repertory works set by distinguished guest artists in periodic workshops and residencies. Membership in the Vanderbilt Dance Theatre (VDT) is by audition only. Company members are comprised of Vanderbilt undergraduate and graduate students, and members of the Nashville Community.  VDT provides opportunities  for audiences to see high-quality performances of ballet, jazz, hip-hop, tap, and modern dance. VDT Dancers participate annually in the American College Dance Festival, and in various performance venues throughout the region.


Le Corsaire: Dance of the Odalisques

  • Performed by: Vanderbilt University
  • Choreography by: Marius Petipa
  • Music By: Adolphe Adam
  • Featuring: Ellen Gaintner, Elizabeth Harrison, Laura Hicks, Jennifer McNamara, Lise Michel

Voices in the Night

  • Performed by: Epiphany
  • Choreography by: Grete Gryzwana
  • Music By: Scott Gerow
  • Rehearsal Direction: Lisa Spradley
  • Set piece designed by: Sarah Englert
  • Text by: Dietrich Bonhoeffer, read by Ben Laxton
  • Featuring: Leah Elmquist, Carrie Gerow, Piper Peterson, Regina Rigney, Andrea Roberts

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a German Lutheran pastor and Theologian who was arrested, imprisoned, and later executed for his stand against Hitler. While imprisoned he wrote many letters and papers that were smuggled out of the prison by sympathetic guards and published posthumously. Bonhoeffer’s life as a pastor and theologian of great intellect and spirituality and his martyrdom in opposition to Nazism exerted great influence and inspiration for Christians across broad denominations and ideologies.


  • Performed by: Austin Peay State University Dance Ensemble
  • Choreography by: Marcus Hayes
  • Music by: David Tudor and John Cage, “Excerpts from 7pm to 8pm”
  • Lighting Design: David Brandon, MFA
  • Costume Design: Leni A. Dyer, MFA
  • Featuring: Raven Cooper, Brittany Hardaway, Abby Ramsey, Alaina Runions, Laquimah Van Dunk

Underpinnings is a collaboration between Leni A. Dyer and Marcus Hayes

Leveche (excerpt)

  • Performed by: Company Rose
  • Choreography by: Marsha Barsky
  • Music by: Loscii
  • Featuring: Ashley Sholtes

“We’re not all her life but storm, would the dancer mould a form of such noble line and blustery breath?”


  • Performed by: Belmont University Dance Company
  • Choreography by: Carrie Gerow
  • Music By: Scott Gerow
  • Featuring: Emily Boe, Aven Chadwell, Courtney Cummings, Sydney Dawbarn-Robinson, Amanda Ellis, Stephanie Fries, Rachel Garland, Erin Greene, Ashlyn Hall, Allison Hill, Hali Krewson, Lizzie Lin, Garrett Marks, Shannon Stockton, Aubrey Swander, Cait Walker

Pond (1972) *

  • Performed by: MTSU Dance Theatre
  • Choreography by: Alwin Nikolais
  • Music by: Alwin Nikolais
  • Rehearsal direction: Kim Neal Nofsinger
  • Lighting Design:Anne Willingham after Alwin Nikolais
  • Featuring: Morgan Bass, Caroline Block, Hollye Bynum, Jessica Cavender, Julie Edwards, Mat Elder, Megan Hall, Callie Johnson, Drew Kerr, Bri Montgomery
  • Understudies: Aaron Allen, Matthew Cutright, Katie McGaha, McKenzie Salder

* No photos were taken of this number due to copyright concerns held by the event organizers.  The Licensing and performance of this work has been granted through the exclusive rights of Nikolais/Louis Foundation for Dance, Inc. The reconstruction of this dance was made possible with funds from the MTSU Distinguished Lecturers Committee and the Dissemination Grant from MTSU. MTSU Dance Theatre will be performing this reconstruction in their Fall Dance Concert December 2nd-4th, and on tour in Chicago and New York City. For additional information contact Kim Neal Nofsinger at nofisinge@mtsu.edu.

Excerpts from Swan Lake

  • Performed by: Nashville Ballet 2 (NB2)
  • Choreography by: Marius Petipa
  • Music by: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
  • Featuring:  Gillian Connor, Sarah Smith, Lindsay Staley, Cassia Wilson, Bailey Fantauzzo, Rachel Klisavage

Dancers appear courtesy of Nashville Ballet’s official second comapny , NB2


  • Performed by: Stillpoint Dance Theatre
  • Choreography by: Sharon Perry & Company
  • Music by: Yann Tierson
  • Featuring: Rebecca Allen, Carrie Ann Gerow, Sarah Morgan, Jennifer McNamara, Banning Roberts, Ashley Sholtes

This piece about women addresses society’s concept of beauty and its impact on us.

Look,  Ma! No Hands!

  • Performed by: Belmont University Dance Company
  • Choreography by: Deb Belue
  • Music by: Jellybean
  • Featuring: Aven Chadwell, Courtney Cummings, Erin Greene, Allison Hill, Alyssa Kawata, Katy Parsley, Maryann Witt,
  • Alternate: Garrett Marks

Technical Crew

  • Technical Direction: David Brandon, MFA
  • Scene Shop Foreman: Jon Penney
  • Stage Manager: Rebecca Beasley
  • Assistant Stage Manager: BJ Sawyers
  • Master Electrician/Light Board Operator: Cody Furline
  • Sound Board Operator: Stephen Kemp
  • Fly Rail Operator: Chris Turner
  • Stage Hands: Darius Walls, Edward Garcia, Jordan Butts, Joseph Nicholson, Chad Stem
  • Dressers:Elizabeth Hadden, Ashley Harris, Colleen Darling
  • Box Office: BJ Sawyers, Marcus Brown, E. Sage Disney

Photo Gallery

Bill Larson
Bill Larson
Bill Larson is  is politically and socially active in the community. Bill is a member of the Friends of Dunbar Cave. You can reach him via telephone at 931-249-0043 or via the email address below.

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