The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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April 24, 2009

Dance concert composed of various styles

MANKATO — The end of winter is full of inspiration, whether it’s to exercise more, spend time outdoors, or perhaps, create a dance.

Changing seasons are exactly what inspired Minnesota State University Director of Dance Julie Kerr-Berry as she choreographed “Underneath the Sky,” a modern piece demonstrating the thawing period that comes between winter and spring.

With late April approaching, and winter finally seeming to fade out for sure this time, MSU Theatre & Dance is prepared to put on its Spring Dance Collection 2009 Concert. The show will feature nine pieces choreographed by various students, faculty and guests that have visited MSU in the past.

Although the department also performs an annual winter concert that sticks to one main idea, the spring collection is just that — a collection.

“There isn’t a common theme,” Kerr-Berry said. “This one is really more of a collection of works that have been generated or choreographed through the whole year.”

Along with her environmentally inspired piece, Kerr-Berry has choreographed another dance for the show, titled “Rhapsody in 5.” Her husband, Timothy Berry, wrote an original composition to accompany the dance, which is meant to portray joyfulness and celebration.

“I think it probably came off the momentum of (Barack Obama’s) inauguration,” Kerr-Berry said, adding that the song gives dancers the opportunity, and the challenge, to move to a very intricate rhythm and dance with joy.

It utilizes a strong ballet component, but also focuses on modern dance, a style that is based on the natural movements of the body, she said.

Modern dance won’t be the only type performed at the concert, however. Professor Paul Finocchiaro put together a tap dance, but strayed from the ordinary when choreographing his piece. “If You’re Gonna” is performed to a song by recording artist Natasha Bedingfield.

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