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Friday, June 9, 2023

Evolution Dance to present show filled with old movie memories

Dance, music and the movies are kindred artistic spirits.

“Dancing, in a sense is acting without words,” said Diane Vargas, artistic director of Evolution Dance. “Music can make movies bubble with emotion.  Music has a way of setting the mood, and helping tell a story.”

Evolution Dance hopes to combine all three art forms in “Reel Memories in Song and Dance.” It will be held Jan. 29 at 3 and 7 p.m. and Jan. 30 at 4 p.m. in Savannah Center. Ticket sales will benefit “Operation Shoebox” and other charities.

An Evolution Dance company chorus line from left Wendy Stephens Sheena Bright Jill Cain Kathy Chesley Williams Kaye Jobe and Mary Ann Dailey
An Evolution Dance company chorus line, from left, Wendy Stephens, Sheena Bright, Jill Cain, Kathy Chesley Williams, Kaye Jobe and Mary Ann Dailey.

One movie that highlights the relationship among music, dance and film is “The Wizard of Oz.”

Early on, a scene takes place in a barnyard where a little girl and her dog face a stormy world and long for escape to a better place.

The Wizard of Oz dancers are Cathy Lucking bottom and top from left Rosie Theiss Leslie Kosenberg Dellie Saxe and Karen Bouffard
The Wizard of Oz dancers are Cathy Lucking, bottom, and, top from left, Rosie Theiss, Leslie Kosenberg, Dellie Saxe and Karen Bouffard.

Then, little Dorothy – Judy Garland –sings “Over The Rainbow,” and suddenly she and Toto are transported to a new land, filled with color and adventure.

“Ding dong, the witch is dead,” Dorothy and her newfound Munchkin friends sing as they dance while “off to see the wizard, the wonderful Wizard of Oz.”

Such is the power of music on film.

“Songs tell a story and explain character,” Vargas said. “It’s not just the vocals, but also the background music that plays throughout a film.”

Among the movies that Evolution will be featuring include: “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” “Cabaret,” “Moulin Rouge!,” “The Bodyguard,” “Young Frankenstein,” “Ghost,” “The Spy Who Loved Me,” “Jailhouse Rock,” and “9 to 5.”

Songs include: “Puttin’ On the Ritz,” “I Will Always Love You,” “Over the Rainbow,” “Unchained Melody,” “Nobody Does It Better.”

Vargas, a onetime Prima Ballerina, now spends her time teaching and choreographing dancers in The Villages.

“It’s not just about steps,” she said. “It’s about how to take steps and deliver them in character with feeling and emotion. A dancer has to make you feel emotion, only with movement.”

Vargas compared the dancer’s task to acting in a silent movie. “Silent movie actors had no words, but they still conveyed meaning and emotion.”

Paul Young reheaarses his Young Frankenstein dance with Puttin On The Ritz.
Paul Young rehearses his Young Frankenstein dance with “Puttin’ On The Ritz.”

Choreographers for the Evolution production include Helene Yelverton, Cheri Lindell, Wendy Stephens and Karen Bouffard.

All will be striving to display the power of music dance and film.

“This program is about pure joy and a little nostalgia,” Vargas said – and that’s what the best movies are all about.

Tony Violanti covers arts and music for Villages-News.com. He was inducted into the Buffalo NY Music Hall of Fame as a music journalist.

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