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Springfield Dance Alliance's 4th Annual "Bloom" Spring Dance Concert

(Poster design courtesy Springfield Dance Alliance)

From a modest start four years ago, Springfield Dance Alliance has come a long way, says Executive Director Kerry Allan.  It all began in the upstairs space at Canvas Art Gallery in downtown Springfield, with six dancers, "stage-prop lamps used as lighting, Japanese paper screens used as stage wings." But after their first concert, the participants decided, "Hey, we really have something here! Let's see how it can grow."

Springfield Dance Alliance celebrates its fourth anniversary with the annual spring dance concert "Bloom," with two performances: Saturday April 23rd at 7:30pm and Sunday April 24th at 2:00pm in the Fox Theatre, 157 Park Central Square. It's one of two formal concerts the company produces each season. The other is the fall concert "Harvest." There's also the more informal "Community Dance Slam" for emerging artists, usually presented in conjunction with First Friday Art Walk.

Springfield Dance Alliance positions itself as an outlet for area professional dancers and dance instructors. Kerry Allan notes that there are "a lot of opportunities in the Springfield area for "student dancers--a lot of wonderful studios, and departments with dance classes within Missouri State University and Drury University.  And some of these students are graduating, coming out with all this experience, and wanting a place to perform and create continually.  So we see people who have had professional careers in New York and Los Angeles come back to Springfield to settle down with family, and really want to keep being involved in the dance community. So we are providing that support.  We also see a lot of dance instructors who also want to continue working on their craft.  Sometimes people who have been away from dance for ten or fifteen years really just want to come back in a friendly kind of a way."

Bloom 2016 will present a celebratory program of ten works showcasing a broad range of dance. "We like to provide a lot of variety for our audiences," says Kerry Allan. "We think that it's important to keep dance really friendly for everyone, whether or not you're a dance 'aficionado' or enthusiast to begin with. So (in Bloom 2016) we're going to see a plethora of styles such as contemporary ballet, some moder, some jazz, even some salsa!" Various local dance organizations are involved, including guest artists Credo Dance Academy with a "lovely contemporary ballet work featuring their students." Also, Phenomenon Dance Studio, which Kerry calls "a very important belly dance studio in the area," with a dance duet fusing together a couple of different styles.  "We also have a lot of independent artists coming in, including some grads from MSU."  One dancer, Marty Almarez, will present a new piece inspired by some of the foster children he's taken into his home.  Kerry Allan calls it "really poignant"--and really personal. "This concert in particular has a lot of personal stories to be told--some silly, some serious, some beautiful, some intriguing. It's a family-friendly show, so if you want to expose young children to dance, please feel free to bring them along."

Tickets are $12 each and can be purchased online at or at the door. For information call Kerry Allan, the company's Executive Director, at 310-0666.

Springfield Dance Alliance's next show will be their annual "Springfield Dance Artists," which, says Kerry, focuses on "a smaller, more refined cast of professional modern and contemporary dancers" to give Springfield audiences the same sort of dance experience they might see in a larger city like St. Louis or Kansas City.  It's scheduled for August 26 at the Old Glass Place, 521 E. St. Louis Street.

Randy Stewart joined the full-time KSMU staff in June 1978 after working part-time as a student announcer/producer for two years. His job has evolved from Music Director in the early days to encompassing production of a wide range of arts-related programming and features for KSMU, including the online and Friday morning "Arts News." Stewart assists volunteer producers John Darkhorse (Route 66 Blues Express), Lee Worman (The Gold Ring), and Emily Higgins (The Mulberry Tree) with the production of their programs. He's also become the de facto "Voice of KSMU" in recent years due to the many hours per day he’s heard doing local station breaks. Stewart’s record of service on behalf of the Springfield arts community earned him the Springfield Regional Arts Council's "Ozzie Award" in 2006.