Gala Spring Concert honors 60 years of dance

The School for Classical and Contemporary Dance will continue its celebration of 60 years of dance at the Gala Spring Concert this weekend.

Ellen Page Shelton, director of the dance school, said she is very excited both for the concert and the ability to use the Scott Theatre as a venue.

“(It will be) a very diverse and interesting program,” she said. “A mix of everything from our classical tutu ballet…to the new works by the guests and Susan Roberts and Elizabeth Gillaspy.”

Unlike the Ed Landreth Auditorium, where the school usually performs, the Scott Theatre is a much more intimate space, said senior modern dance major Summer McGowan.

“The auditorium is smaller and seats stadium seating, which allows a personal relationship with the audience,” she said.

The concert will feature ballet and modern pieces choreographed by the school’s faculty members and various guest artists.

Li-Chou Cheng, professor of professional practice and ballet master in residence, restaged act III of the classical ballet “Raymonda” for the concert, and Elizabeth Gillaspy, associate professor of ballet, and Susan Roberts, associate professor of modern dance, will be premiering new works.

Guest artists include Ben Stevenson, artistic director of the Texas Ballet Theater, Loretta Livingston, artistic director of Loretta Livingston & Dancers in Los Angeles, and Chieh-hua (Jeff) Hsieh, a rising choreographer from Taiwan.

Rachel Cummings, a senior modern dance major, said working with Hsieh was both challenging and exciting.

“His movement is very physical and challenging, but he was so patient with us, which was really helpful in the rehearsal process,” she said. “It is always nice to work with guest choreographers because it is a great way to learn how people out in the dance world work and what they are looking for in artists.”

For some dancers, this is a last performance with the School for Classical and Contemporary Dance. McGowan said it’s strange to know she will not have the camaraderie that she has become so used to.

“You really develop a sense of family,” she said. “I feel like all the seniors are like my sisters, so that will be missed.”

But at the same time, McGowan said, she is looking forward to taking what she has learned and going out on her own.

Shelton said this 60th anniversary is a testament to the longevity and reputation of the program, which has continued to grow both nationally and internationally.

“We (will) continue to improve and continue to plan and work for 60 more years,” she said.

SCCDance Gala Spring Concert

When: 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

Where: Scott Theatre, 1300 Gendy St. in the Museum District

Admission is free for faculty, staff and students with TCU ID. General admission is $10 at the door, or $5 for non-TCU students with ID.