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Peterborough

Leaping into spring

Peterborough Dance Theatre: Students show choreography chops for spring show

  • Students at the Peterborough Dance Theatre prepare for their upcoming Spring show.
  • Students at the Peterborough Dance Theatre prepare for their upcoming Spring show.
  • Students at the Peterborough Dance Theatre prepare for their upcoming Spring show.
  • Students at the Peterborough Dance Theatre prepare for their upcoming Spring show.
  • Students at the Peterborough Dance Theatre prepare for their upcoming Spring show.
  • Students at the Peterborough Dance Theatre prepare for their upcoming Spring show.
  • Students at the Peterborough Dance Theatre prepare for their upcoming Spring show.
  • Students at the Peterborough Dance Theatre prepare for their upcoming Spring show.
  • Students at the Peterborough Dance Theatre prepare for their upcoming Spring show.
  • Students at the Peterborough Dance Theatre prepare for their upcoming Spring show.
  • Students at the Peterborough Dance Theatre prepare for their upcoming Spring show.
  • Students at the Peterborough Dance Theatre prepare for their upcoming Spring show.
  • Students at the Peterborough Dance Theatre prepare for their upcoming Spring show.
  • Students at the Peterborough Dance Theatre prepare for their upcoming Spring show.
  • Students at the Peterborough Dance Theatre prepare for their upcoming Spring show.
  • Students at the Peterborough Dance Theatre prepare for their upcoming Spring show.
  • Students at the Peterborough Dance Theatre prepare for their upcoming Spring show.
  • Students at the Peterborough Dance Theatre prepare for their upcoming Spring show.
  • Students at the Peterborough Dance Theatre prepare for their upcoming Spring show.
  • Students at the Peterborough Dance Theatre prepare for their upcoming Spring show.

Spring has sprung, and with it, the hopes of the young dancers at the Peterborough Dance Theatre.

Peterborough Dance Theatre has only been around for a year. Previously part of the Monadnock Performing Arts, the old studio dissolved last summer, both of the company’s main teachers starting individual companies. Pati Cloutier started Peterborough Dance Theatre, which is made up of many of her old students from Monadnock Performing Arts. Each spring, Monadnock Performing Arts held a spring dance show to showcase both its students and some guest dancers, and that’s a tradition that Cloutier decided to continue with the Peterborough Dance Theatre.

This year, the company’s show is entitled “Spring Forth! A celebration of Dance and Season.” And one way Cloutier is celebrating dance, she said in a recent interview at her studio in Peterborough, is by allowing the students to flex their choreographing muscles and put their own pieces into the show. This isn’t a new element of the spring show, she added — there have always been student works involved. But this was the first year that she made the decision to include all of the works that her students presented.

“They all had such an interesting quality to them,” said Cloutier. “And I had a lot of younger dancers take that challenge, on, which was interesting. They were so excited, and the dances have an innocent, youthful quality. I thought they should be able to put them out there.”

Two pieces, including one by student choreographer Rachel Sturges, 12, of Peterborough, have to do with the loss of a friend. Sturges piece, she said in a recent interview, is in memory of a friend she had when she was very young, and her best friend died of cancer. The dance, called “Finis” and using music by Train, is about letting go of that grieving process, said Sturges.

Another piece in this year’s show is also about a similar subject, according to Cloutier. Madeline Garland, a student at Peterborough Dance Theatre, will be portraying the late Riley Wolf, a young dancer from Bedford who recently died following her battle with cancer. The dance “Final Touch,” is Peterborough Dance Theatre’s tribute to her.

Eve Pierce, 14, of Peterborough, is one of the dancers who will be performing her own work. Her inspiration wasn’t drawn from real life, she said, but a television show.

“I was always interested in choreography,” said Pierce. “I got really interested in it when I went to see a company show, and there was one piece that was amazing. And then I learned that it was a student piece.”

Pierce’s piece is called “Crossroads,” and features music by Panic! at the Disco. The choreography was inspired by one of her favorite television shows, “Supernatural,” with some of the moves inspired by the show’s most iconic moments.

Other students said their dances are more interpretive. Hannah Hendersen, 17, of Francestown, said that her piece is a mix of modern dance and ballet. She found her inspiration in the music piece she chose, she said. Her piece is instrumental, she explained, by violinist Lindsey Stirling.

“In the music, I just heard things that I wanted to incorporate into the dance,” she explained. Hendersen said that she had integrated other Peterborough Dance Theatre students into her work, and since the start, they have been instumental to the development of the work.

“It’s like writers get writer’s block,” she said. “You’d get halfway through and not know how to finish, and the other girls would help collaborate to move the process forward.

Jane Ann Sandback, 12, of Hancock, also said her dance isn’t a straight story. A contemporary piece, it’s more about the emotions, said Sandback. Sandback is also the only student that took on a solo piece for her dance.

In addition to the student dancers, said Cloutier, there will also be five guest dancers who will be offering their talents. Guest dancers include Heather Budinscak, Robyn Goulette, Thomas Ortiz and Patricia Fox.

Their talents range from modern, musical theater, ballet and tap, explained Cloutier. Fox is an alumni cheerleader for the New England Patriots.

“It’s just another facet of dance,” said Cloutier. “I want the guest performers to really open the girls’ eyes to the many facets of dance, and where you can go with it.

The Peterborough Dance Theatre will present its spring show on Saturday, May 3 at 7:30 p.m. at the Peterborough Players Theatre. Tickets are $20 and available at the door.

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