Cat Ardes
Arts & Culture Editor

If there is one form of art where anything goes, it might as well be dancing. Dancing allows us to express ourselves in any way, shape or form, with or without speaking and to any style of music. From an older style such as swing and blues to modern contemporary ballet and tap or to the hip moving merengue and bachata, dance can take us anywhere and to any culture. This Sunday, March 9 at 4pm, The Ware Center will host the third annual Downtown Dances “Front, Back & In-Between” with more than a dozen local dance companies & choreographers.

Returning NetCo Dance Company will be represented by Jennifer Berlet.
Returning NetCo Dance Company will be represented by Jennifer Berlet.

Downtown Dances began three years ago that aimed to give local dance companies, dancers, and independent choreographers a chance to showcase their talents in front of an audience in a professional theater. Now in its third year with the theme of “Front, Back & In-Between”, it will bring back previous artists and a new collection of performers. Performances were selected from submissions by local dance companies and choreographers by the producers of Downtown Dances which include returning local artists and newcomers.

Returning, Grant Street Dance Company will be represented by Kim Jureckson dancing, “Remorse”. This dance will be an interpretation of a painting of the same name by renowned Lancaster-based artist, Gail Gray. Jureckson is an Artistic Director that will take inspiration from the way lines of the painting flow off of the page creating a work of dance art, both complex and affecting.

Second returning dance artist will be NetCo Dance Company represented by Jennifer Berlet and Cynthia Nehr dancing two routines called “Hollow Swell” and “5”. Each of these performances are signature styles of intricately woven and technical choreography to bring forth two new works. “5” explores relationships with our own mortality and “Hollow Swell” uses movement and breath to depict the power and weight of water.

“Apache” will be a routine presented by Rev9’s, Kristin Pontz, another returning artist. This number has an intense physicality and mesmerizing partner work that has been performed for audiences for several seasons. “Apache” is an interpretation of Parisian street dance during the turn of the century.

Kim Jureckson, founder of Grant Street Dance Company, will be performing for the evening.
Kim Jureckson, founder of Grant Street Dance Company, will be performing for the evening.

One last returning artist is Priscilla Kaufhold from Barefoot Dance Company. Kaufhold will be performing “Friend or Foe”, a humorous take on the foibles of forming new relationships.

Newcomers to Downtown Dances will be Stacia Sleight from Remote Dance Company performing “Remote” that utilizes verbal, written and electronic resources to inspire physical creation. “Apprentice”, a blend of modern, jazz, and theatre, is a piece that will be performed by Ashley Lumberg from In.K. Experiment. Annie McGillian and Christine Chever- Healy will be performing original solos. Pedro DeLima will be presenting a duet centered on obtaining balance in human relationships in life.

Local advanced and pre-professional student dancers are also included in the line-up that will show a diverse range of styles. Encore Dance Center’s Performance Company will perform to different routines. Dana Shelley, ballet director, will depict loss and memory in “Not There”, an intense and sensitive duet. Emily Kline, Encore alumni, presents, “Sui Generis,” a powerful jazz piece illustrating the perseverance of the independent spirit.

The Messiah College Dance Ensemble will perform two new pieces. Gregg Hurley’s “World Weary and Ready for Rest” searches for the idea of finding resilience in the face of adversity. Marie Cleaves Rothacker builds layers with movement centered around suspension and release of weight in “Rise and Fall.”

A vintage-inspired outlook will be performed in “Home” and exploring the word performed by Melissa Goodling’s Raven Dance Ensemble. Finally, a technical solo that will end the evening, will be performed by Shari Vegso-Wilson’s COBALT Dance Company.

This one-hour show will be followed by a family-friendly reception where audience members can mingle and talk with the cast. Tickets will be $15 for the general public, $10 for seniors and $5 for students. Tickets are available by calling 717-872-3811, online at or in person at the Ware Center Box office or at the SMC Building on campus.