Keeping in step

International Dance Festival
set for Crestwood, Louisville

Three day event to feature
conferences and workshops

By Helen E. McKinney
Contributing Writer

(October 2005) – Using her many years of experience as a professional dancer and choreographer to her advantage, Susana B. Williams has created what she hopes will become an annual event. Her enthusiasm for the genre of dance has led her to create a festival that will provide resources and opportunities for dance professionals.

Dance Performer

Photo by Scott Belding

Devon Larussa is performing a new solo choreographed by Robert Henry Johnson.

The idea for the Blue Grass State International Dance Festival began in 2003, according to Williams. The goal of the festival is to bring together dance professionals, dance companies, presenters, producers, the press and the people of Kentucky. Dance professionals worldwide, educators, and beginner, intermediate and advanced level students are expected to attend conferences, workshops and master classes.
Three days of intense activity are planned for Friday through Sunday, Oct. 14-16. So much is planned that two sites have been chosen for the festival: the Oldham County Arts Center in Crestwood and the Spectrum Center in Louisville.
Williams is the creator and director of her own La Grange-based company, Dance-Forms Productions. She began the company in September 1984 “to provide professional dance instruction as well as performance and theatrical experience for dance students from Oldham County.” Williams, 56, is originally from Guatemala.
The Blue Grass State International Dance Festival will also incorporate “The 30th International Choreographers’ Show-case.” This showcase features emerging and distinguished international award-winning choreographers and dancers from Canada, Guatemala, the United States and Venezuela. A performance will be given at the Oldham County Arts Center Auditorium from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Oct. 14.
In addition to Williams, the program will feature original works by the following internationally acclaimed choreographers Attila Joey Csiki, David Fonnegra, Robert Henry Johnson, Kimberly Olson and Anandha Ray. Registration for master classes will be held later that day from 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. A “Meet the Artist” welcome reception will be held at the Spectrum Center Cafeteria from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at 911 S. Brook St. in Louisville.
Master Classes and workshops will run throughout the following two days at the Spectrum Center Studios. Public performances are scheduled at this location for 8 p.m. Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday.
Visitors to the Spectrum Center can also view an exhibition honoring Ernestine Day and her work as principal dancer with Ted Shawn and Ruth St. Denis.
This display includes Day’s diary, costumes, pictures, programs and other memorabilia collected during the Denishawn Co. tour of the Orient. A special festival Market Place will promote products and services offered by the business communities of Louisville and Oldham County.

Dance Performers

Photo by Scott Belding

David Fonnegra
and Maria LaMance
"From Heaven"
choreographed by
Kentucky native
Anandha Ray.

Williams received partial funding for this festival via a $5,000 Arts Builds Communities Grant from the Kentucky Arts Council. She devised this festival “in an effort to create greater enthusiasm and appreciation for dance as an art form.”
Williams’ Dance-Forms Productions is partnering with Dance! Kentucky to provide this dance experience. Dance! Kentucky is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting and supporting the art of dance and dance education throughout the state of Kentucky.
Its purpose is to act as an advocating agency focusing on the importance of dance throughout the state and collaborating with professionals in support of promoting dance as a viable art form.
“The Oldham County Arts Center is playing an important role by sponsoring the presentation of
the 30th International Choreographers’ Showcase for the people of Oldham County,” said Williams.
Harrie Buecker, assistant superintendent for the Oldham County Arts Center, said she is thrilled that the center was chosen as one of the performance sites. “This is a wonderful opportunity for the students in the Oldham County schools and our entire community to experience contemporary dance being performed at the highest levels.”
For inspiration in planning this festival, Williams turned to several impressive arts festivals she had attended in Europe. These included the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Edinburgh, Scotland; the Monaco Dance Forum in Monte Carlo, Monaco; and the Avignon Festival in France.
Williams said many Kentuckians might not have the opportunity to view the extraordinary work of dance artists unless they travel abroad. Through her varied networking capabilities, she has tried to bring a slice of the international world of dance to Kentucky.
“We are particularly interested in creating a greater sense of enthusiasm and appreciation for dance here in Oldham County,” said Buecker. This event will be “our first opportunity to focus on dance in our newly renovated performance hall.”
Admission to performances of the 30th International Choreographers’ Showcase is $10 for the general public, $7 for dance artists and $5 for students and children. Admission to the Ernestine Day Exhibition is $4 per ticket.

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