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Dance Card

UB's Zodiaque Dance Company

Spectacular dance events at UB Center for the Arts and throughout the area

Among the highly anticipated dance events at the UB Center for the Arts this season is the second annual Back to Buffalo 2: U.B. Dance Alumni All-Star Concert.

For this year’s event, UB welcomes several different guest choreographers to perform and teach master classes. Danielle Sheather is one of many UB alumni who has been asked to perform and teach classes.

The proceeds will go towards the spring 2011 Taylor 2 residency, which lost funding last year.

“It’s kind of a big deal,” Sheather says. “The people who danced last year are people I definitely looked up to when I was dancing there. When I actually got the email from the dean, I was kind of overwhelmed. It’s nice to be able to give back.”

Graduating in 2003, Sheather earned a BFA in dance and a BA in psychology.

“When I left UB, I was really well-rounded as a dancer, and since then I’ve been in a tap company, a modern dance company, a jazz dance company and I did a lot of the partnering work on a cruise ship. I’ve pretty much used my degree to its fullest, which feels kind of cool.”

Matt Pardo, a 2007 UB graduate, is also an participating in the event.

“I’m so grateful to still be in touch with my professors after graduation and to still be affiliated with the university,” pardo says.

Along with performing, Matt will also be setting a piece for the Zodiaque Dance Company and teaching master classes.

“I will be teaching a contemporary jazz class,” he says. “Basically it molds the rhythm and the lines of jazz and ballet with the organic movement sense of modern. It’s kind of an eclectic mix—it kind of pulls from everything.”

Extra Moves

Music Is Art Festival 2010

There will be lots of dance at the Music Is Art Festival, September 11, 10am-10pm, at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery. The dance companies include Bella Dea Bellydance, Nadia Ibrahim Middle Eastern Dance Company, Moving Miracles, Fleuron Rouge, ZPAC, Terrie George’s Dance Theatrics, Eye Candy Burlesque Troupe/Pole Play Dance Studio, Euphraxia & Red Moon, Ilya’s Bellydance Studio, Rince Na Tiarna Irish Dancers, Future Dance Center, LehrerDance, Zuut Bellydance, Habit Dance Project, and Mone Dance Project.

Battle at Buffalo

Every last Saturday of the month at Verve Dance Studio, owner Shane Fry holds his monthly dance battle featuring some of the region’s best dancers in any style you care to name: popping, locking, funkstyles, breakdancing, krumping. Verve Dance Studio, 910 Main Street. Dancers pay $6, spectators pay $5.

STORM’s Halloween Fundraiser: Shake, Rattle & Roll

Tommy Radon and his choreography company STORM will hold a Halloween fundraiser on October 30, 8-11pm, at Ilio DiPaolo’s Restaurant in Blasdell. There will be dinner, dancing, apple-bobbing, a costume competition, basket raffles, and a silent auction. Tickets are $25, and all proceeds benefit the Orthopaedics Division of Women & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo.

Rhythm Shuffle

Swing Buffalo hosts its third annual Lindy Hop and Balboa workshop September 17-18. Dancers come from as far as Tennessee, Connecticut, Canada, Ohio, and Michigan. The weekend includes a tap-out Lindy Hop competition, dance workshops, evening dances, and late-night blues parties accompanied by Buffalo’s 3 of a Kind. The welcome dance features Reverend Soapbox and the Rabble Rousers. Visit for more information.

For aspiring local dancers, a concert like this shows them that it’s possible to come from a dance program such as the one from UB and then to move on to find actual jobs.

When asked why he thought this event was important, Pardo said, “To show the community that UB does have the dance program that it does. I think dance programs in general can kind of go unnoticed sometimes. UB has been a really strong, albeit quiet, dance program and national dance force. The students that they turn out are always working…we have alumni in many very notable companies. think it’s important to be able to show Western New York the resource that UB is in terms of training dancers.”

The other dancers participating in the event are Amanda Benzin, Katie Heintz, Claire Jacob-Zysman, Jenny Laroche, Gina Pero, and Rich Ashworth.

To close out the evening, Zodiaque Dance Company will perform a piece choreographed by Jon Lehrer, which will include recent UB graduate Colleen Walsh, who was just recruited into Buffalo’s LehrerDance.

The performance takes place Saturday, September 25 at 8pm, while the master classes will be taught the following day. Tickets cost $26.50 for the general public and $13 for students. For more information, visit

LehrerDance presents three world premieres at UB Center for the Arts, October 8-10. First is An American Siddhartha: The Way Within, a rock-opera inspired by the novel Siddhartha by Herman Hesse. In this piece, the dancers will channel their energies to the classic rock sounds of Led Zeppelin and The Guess Who, as well as pianist Christopher O’Riley. The other premieres are SuperZeros, a comical piece about a family of not-so-superheroes, and Hearth, which highlights the beauty and strength of the female dancers in the company set to live music by Buffalo’s Damien Simon. Tickets are $19.50 for the general public and $16.50 for students.

Parsons Dance comprises 10 full-time dancers, and the company’s repertory consists of more than 70 works, all choreographed by David Parsons. The company has traveled all over the world, and will perform at UBCFA’s Mainstage Theatre on October 15 at 8pm, with a pre-performance talk at 7:15pm. Tickets are $26.50 for the general public ($23.50 for groups) and $13.50 for students.

• UB’s Zodiaque Dance Company, directed by Tom Ralabate, puts on its fall show October 20-24. Tickets are $18 for the public and $10 for students and seniors.

Suzanne Farrell—legendary American ballerina and muse to George Balanchine—and her extraordinary company presents works inspired by Balanchine’s pas de deux style at UBCFA’s Mainstage Theatre on November 5 at 8pm. The Balanchine Couple comprises a timeline of Balanchine pieces, starting with Apollo, La Sonnambula, Ivesiana, La Valse, and Agon, followed by pieces from the “Farrell years,” which include Meditation, Don Quixote, Diamonds, and Stars and Stripes. Tickets are $34.50 for the general public ($29.50 for groups) and $16.50 for students.

• The worldwide renowned Bellydance Superstars are making their way to UB this fall. The 16-person ensemble and master percussionist Issam Houshan bring the art of bellydance to the mainstream, weaving in numerous other dance styles and entertaining audiences with their vibrant costumes, entertaining music, and fabulous dancing. The troupe performs at UBCFA’s Mainstage Theatre on November 14 at 8pm. For ticket information, visit

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