VanDance Inc. Announces Dance Masterclasses

– by Ellie Aungst

State College, PA – State College’s own professional dance company​, VanDance Inc., today announced the kickoff of its monthly series entitled Dance Masterclass Saturdays to feature instructors with extensive professional performing-choreographic-teaching experience in a wide array of dance styles. All classes are open to the public, for ages 13 and up, and open-level, but some dance training, or advanced-beginner ability, is recommended.

Van Dance Inc

Taking place once a month on Saturday afternoon from 2:00-3:30 p.m. at Tempest Studios, 140 Kelly Alley in State College, each monthly class will feature a different style of dance and dancer-teacher. The first masterclass on Saturday Feb. 25 is Contemporary Modern Dance by VanDance’s own artistic director, Ann Van Kuren. Ann’s work has been acclaimed as “…powerful and anointed: (her) choreography drew me in to dance,” and “…expressive, very musical and practically hypnotic.” This Contemporary Modern Dance class will be based on the key elements of the Humphrey-Limón tradition as well as the work of other contemporary choreographers in whose works Ms. Van Kuren has danced. Her class combines a strong technical base with a focus on musicality and freedom of movement. A sense of weight and power is achieved through the constant interplay with and against gravity. Improvisational exercises are interspersed throughout class and often become short dances. VanDance’s new home in downtown State College, Tempest Studios, 140 Kelly Alley, is under the Fraser Street parking garage and around the corner from Elixr Coffee Roasters on Beaver Avenue. The cost is $65 for a 4-class pass, or $20 per class.

“We want to present a new dance educational event in State College that is both fun and inspiring,” said Van Kuren, “taking place this spring 2023. I see this series of monthly masterclasses as a supplement to the wonderful dance programs and lessons already being taught at the university and in studios throughout our area. This brings the point-of-view of experienced professional dancers to the community.”

"We want to present a new dance educational event in State College that is both fun and inspiring"

- Van Kuren

“Next month on Mar. 18 we have Spence Ford teaching a Musical Theatre class,” said Van Kuren. “Spence danced on Broadway in Fosse’s Dancin’, King of Hearts, Carmelina, Peter Pan, Copperfield, Merlin, La Cage aux Folles, and Teddy and Alice. During the past 10 years, she has taught for the Verdon Fosse Legacy in NYC.”

“In April, on the 15th, our focus will switch to Flamenco Dance with Lara Vracarich,” Van Kuren added. “All dancers, no matter their stylistic preference, should experience the port de bras (arms motions), palos (rhythmic families of songs) and the compás (meter/time signature) for the palos, palmas (polyrhythmic clapping), basic footwork technique, body posturing, floreos (traditional hand movements), and pitos (rhythmic snapping) of this technique.”

VanDance Inc. was founded in 2001 and has an artistic vision developed by its artistic director, Ann Van Kuren. She has been a contributing choreographer and dancer to the region of Central Pennsylvania, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and beyond since 1988. VanDance’s mission is to promote dance as an alive and vital art form in the region through a commitment to excellence, strong integrity in the creative process and product, education of audiences, and outreach activity to underserved populations and special interest groups. VanDance Inc. receives state arts funding support through a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.

Visit VanDance Inc. for more information.

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