(April 10, 2008)

Contact: Rick DelaHaya, Centenary News Services, 318.869.5073

Dancer Honored at Festival, Performs Dance at Concert April 26 and 27

To view coverage from Rick Rowe, "Live & on the Scene," click HERE.

If you go:

WHAT: Escaped Images Dance Company in Concert

WHEN: 8 p.m. Saturday, April 26, and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, April 27

WHERE: Marjorie Lyons Playhouse at Centenary College, 2911 Centenary Blvd., Shreveport

COST: $5, cash or check only.

CONTACT: 318.869.5242 for information. Box Office hours are noon to 4 p.m. daily.

SHREVEPORT, La.—As a young child of seven years old, she hated dance. It was boring and it was hard. Her mother told her to pick one thing and stick with it. She would rather be in gymnastics where it was exciting. But when it came time for recitals, something clicked...and her love of dance began.

Now 14 years later, she is hearing comments about her "breathtaking lines and wonderful facility of her body, phrasing and control...she was very emotionally engaged." And how she "has such long lines that she appeared to be using the entire space throughout the performance...she has an organic, intuitive sense of movement...I could have watched her dance for hours."

These were just some of the words of praise that dance and psychology major Anna Maris received after her performance at the American College Dance Festival Association Conference at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas.

Anna Maris
Anna Maris rehearses for her upcoming performance in the Escaped Images Dance Company concert. The 15-member company will perform April 26 and 27 at the Marjorie Lyons Playhouse.
—photo by Rick DelaHaya

Held February 27 through March 1, dancers from four states in the south central region, including Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico, converged on the campus and engaged in a wide variety of dance activities including workshops, lectures and demonstrations, and master classes. The conference also highlighted the outstanding choreographic and performing talents of the country's college and university dancers through adjudicated concerts. The conference culminated with a Gala Concert featuring works selected for their exemplary artistic qualities.

Maris was invited to perform her dance, "The Ebb of a Heart's Progression," at the Gala Concert that closed out the conference. Of the 51 works presented to the 3-person committee for adjudication, only 12 were selected for the Gala Concert, including Maris'.

"I was more nervous presenting at the Gala than at the adjudication just because the dance is very personal and you feel very vulnerable," said the 21-year-old Little Rock native. "I didn't know if I could perform it as genuinely again. But I found a different focus and was able to communicate something different the second night."

According to Ginger Folmer, the performance by Maris was significant for the Centenary dance program. "We go to these conferences and present along with much larger colleges and universities," said Centenary's professor of dance. "For us to be selected to perform at the Gala was just phenomenal, not only for Anna, but for our entire program."

Maris started choreographing the four-minute dance in October and finished shortly after Christmas break in January. From that time until she performed it in March, it was a matter of "refining and tweaking it," she said.

—photo by Rick DelaHaya

Her dance, "The Ebb of a Heart's Progression," began as a personal challenge for her to use more modern choreography, but as the dance itself evolved, it was becoming something completely different.

"What originally started as me trying to incorporate modern dance evolved and became me having a conversation with a corner of the stage, which then evolved into a conversation with God. It is very personal and the dance explores grief, the journey of despair, to finally reaching acceptance."

The dance, Maris explained, is really about more than acceptance. "It begins and ends the same way, with almost a circular motion to it. It feels like you are not going anywhere."

Maris will present her dance at the Marjorie Lyons Playhouse when the theatre and dance department present the Escaped Images Dance Company in Concert. Beginning at 8 p.m. on Saturday, April 26, and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, April 27, the performances will include compositions choreographed by faculty, alumni and students.

To view coverage from Rick Rowe, "Live & on the Scene," click HERE.

About Centenary College of Louisiana

Centenary College is a private, four-year arts and sciences college affiliated with the United Methodist Church. Founded in 1825, it is the oldest chartered liberal arts college west of the Mississippi River and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Centenary is one of 16 colleges and universities constituting the Associated Colleges of the South and is regularly rated as one of the top colleges in the South. In 2008 Centenary College celebrates 100 years in Shreveport and Bossier City.