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February 2, 2012 at 1:00 am

Dance celebration in full swing at Berman

“Dance Month” at the Berman Center in West Bloomfield showcases local, national and international talent.

“Dance Month” at the Berman Center in West Bloomfield showcases local, national and international talent. (Berman Center for the Performing Arts)

Compressing a celebration of dance into one month is a daunting endeavor, but the Berman Center for the Performing Arts found a way to work it out.

During “Dance Month,” which began Jan. 26 and ends Feb. 18, the West Bloomfield venue is putting the athletic, artistic skill in the spotlight with events including dance presentations, of course, and workshops by local, national and international performers.

“I got my first job with a dance company handling lighting, and I didn’t realize just how much of a story that dance can tell,” says Elaine Smith, managing director of the Berman Center.

She says these types of events open up the vast world of dance to those who thought it inaccessible.

“I want audiences to see this type of physical storytelling and see it not as an elitist thing, but as a wonderful way to experience art.”

On Saturday, choreographers from dance programs at Oakland University, Hope College, Marygrove College, Wayne State University and Grand Valley State University and their students will treat audiences to the “Michigan Five: University Showcase.”

For those who prefer doing the dancing over watching someone else flitting across the stage, Sault Ste. Marie’s Allure Dance Company on Sunday will offer three workshops geared toward children — ages 3 to 4, 5 to 7 and 8 to 11. Parents of the youngest set will also need to get on in on the fun.

The day will culminate with all students and parents of the tiniest of tots hitting the Berman stage with Allure dancers.

Next week, on Feb. 11, the Eisenhower Dance Ensemble will present “New DANCEfest X.”

The innovative dance ensemble will perform several pieces, including a revival of Steven Iannacone’s”Boléro” to the music of French composer Maurice Ravel.

Colombia’s Ballet Folklorico de Antioquia on Feb. 18 will wrap up the “Dance Month” celebration with classical and contemporary dance styles.

Eric Maher, technical director at the Berman, said he hopes audiences will leave the series feeling inspired and impressed by the beauty of dance.

“It just blows me away. I am always excited to see it,” Maher said. “It’s brushstrokes of light and movement.”


(313) 222-2613

Dance month at the Berman Center

8 p.m. Saturday, Michigan Five: University Showcase
1-3:30 p.m. Sunday, Allure Dance Company workshops
8 p.m. Feb. 11, “New DANCEfest X”
8 p.m. Feb. 18, Ballet Folklorico de Antioquia
The Berman Center for the Performing Arts
Jewish Community Center of Metropolitan Detroit
6600 W. Maple Road, West Bloomfield
Tickets: $15-$40; prices vary depending on the performance and programs
Call (248) 661-1900
Visit http://www.theberman.org