Performers offer peek at center for creative arts


January 14, 1998|By Bonita Formwalt | Bonita Formwalt,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

I CAN'T BELIEVE we did this," my friend Janie Ballard whispered as the curtain rose Saturday night on a preview presentation at the Chesapeake Center for the Creative Arts.

We sat in the back of the auditorium of what was once Brooklyn Park High School and what would one day be the performance arena of the center.

My friend was radiant, drawing energy from the applause of the enthusiastic audience. For months she had worked with the North County arts community toward a common goal of providing classes, a performance area and gallery space for the artists of northern Anne Arundel county.

Saturday's program offered a glimpse of what the center can provide -- dance, music, theater and art. It was an eclectic mix of performers, much like our own community, offering different tastes and diverse visions of the celebration of the arts.

There were some snags. It was too cold in the back of the building, too hot in the front. The audio equipment offered a few challenges to the performers. The cookie supply ran out at intermission.

But the richness of the evening was in the promise for our community. North County is more than a collection of fast food restaurants, car lots and home to the Motor Vehicle Administration. Our residents sing and dance; we paint and write.

The arts center is a gift we will share with our neighbors and the rest of the county, thanks to the perseverance of people such as Del. Joan Cadden, Ned Carey, Robert Nichols, Jeanette Thompson, Walt Robuck and dozens of other volunteers.

"I can't believe we did it," my friend repeated as we watched a ballerina pirouette across the stage.

Break a leg, North County.

Dance performance

A new generation of dancers will grace the stage when the dance department of Glen Burnie High School presents "An Evening of Dance" at 7 p.m. tomorrow in the school's auditorium. Under the direction of dance teacher Dianne Rosso, 140 dancers will perform a variety of styles, including jazz, tap, ballet and modern.

In addition to performances by all of the dance classes, the Dance Company and the Dance Club, students from Marley Middle School will perform under the direction of teacher Carolyn Anderson. Rosso makes no attempt to restrain her exuberance for the program.

"The music in the show is some of the best I've ever used," she says.

Allowing her students an element of freedom in selecting their performance pieces has resulted in a program that includes songs such as "Men in Black," "At the Hop," "Cotton Eye Joe" and "My Heart Will Go On" from the movie "Titanic."

The use of student choreography is a hallmark of the Glen Burnie program. Susan Spenduto, a junior dance student had already choreographed her performance when Rosso asked a small favor.

"I asked her to redo the entire dance to use the Celine Dion song from 'Titanic.' In a couple of days she was done, and it is awesome," said Rosso.

Tim Kuczinski is a junior in one of the two "Dance for the Athlete" classes in the school's program. The classes are made up of athletes from several sports, including football, baseball and softball.

Kuczinski, the varsity football team's kicker, is honest about the talent in his class.

"Everybody's having fun even if there are some people who can't dance, but it really looks good," said Kuczinski, who will perform in "Footloose" and "At the Hop."

Current students will be joined on stage by some of Rosso's dance alumni.

Dina Reyes Ward of the Class of 1983 will perform with her sister, 1986 graduate Debra Reyes Laza, and members of the Dina Reyes Ward Dance Company. Staci Crum, a 1991 ` graduate, has choreographed a number with the Level I dance class, and 1997 graduate Christine DeGuzman choreographed the Dance Company's interpretation of "Have a Little Faith in Me."

The evening promises to be a celebration of the talents of the students and their teacher.

"Dancing is like acting," said senior Missy Jordan. "When you're on stage, you're portraying a certain mood. You're a different person."

Admission to the show is $4. Tickets are available at the door or by calling the school office, 410-761-8950.

Pub Date: 1/14/98

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