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CONTRIBUTED PHOTO Joffrey Concert Group, CONTRIBUTED PHOTO Joffrey Concert Group, "An Evening of Dance," Repertory Dance Theatre, 7 p.m. March 15, Scottish Rite Cathedral, 1533 Hamilton St., Allentown

Spotlight on: Joffrey on stage for RDT at Scottish Rite

Wednesday, March 12, 2014 by ELIZABETH OUELLETTE Special to The Press in Focus

Repertory Dance Theatre presents "An Evening of Dance," 7 p.m. March 15, Scottish Rite Cathedral, 1533 Hamilton St., Allentown, featuring performances by the Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Arts, Totts Gap, DM Dance Company, and the Artistic Director of the famed The Joffrey Concert Group of New York.

"An Evening of Dance" has something for everyone, from classical ballet, contemporary, modern, to theatrical jazz performed to music just as diverse, including Shostakovich, Rodgers and Hammerstein and Elvis Presley.

Jennifer Haltzman Tracy, Executive Director and Co-Artistic Director of Repertory Dance Theatre (RDT), began dancing as a child. She went on to dance with Kansas City Ballet and from there to become the Associate Director of Education at New York City Ballet.

The RDT was formed by Jennifer's late mother Dolly, who believed dance students needed to have more venues in which to perform. "You can take classes until you are blue in the face," says Haltzman, "but if you have nowhere to perform, you are not getting to express your craft."

RDT performs two pieces by RDT Artistic Co-Director Trinette Singleton. "Cappricios" is a ballet that received rave reviews, including the outstanding choreography award in the 2010 Youth America Grand Prix semi-finals.

One of the more unusual dance pieces on "An Evening of Dance" program is "The Elvis Opus," inspired by the music of Elvis Presley. Singleton choreographed the new piece. "It's really fun," says Haltzman, "and it's not the kind of thing audiences are used to with ballet."

Haltzman is thrilled to bring "An Evening of Dance" to Lehigh Valley audiences. "It is so exciting," she relates. "We are so happy to be able to highlight these wonderful shorter pieces in a full theater. We can bring different kinds of pieces, not just what people are used to, like 'The Nutcracker,' though we all love 'The Nutcracker.'"

Joffrey Concert Group, located in New York's Greenwich Village and directed by Davis Robertson, longtime principal dancer with the Joffrey Ballet, perform "Light Rain," a piece by Gerald Arpino, co- founder and former Artistic Director of the Joffrey Ballet.

Drye-Marinaro Dance Company, a Stroudsburg based company, performs two contemporary pieces. Angeline Wolf, a founding member and principal dancer of Jennifer Muller-The Works, choreographed two works for the program to be performed by dancers from her Slatington-based company Totts Gap Arts Institute.

Dancers from the Lehigh Charter High School for the Arts perform "Ladylike," an upbeat piece by faculty member Jennifer Weaver. The piece was adjudicated and selected to be performed next month on the gala concert of the National High School Dance Festival, Miami, Fla.

Collaborating with the Lehigh Valley Charter School and the DM Dance Company is exciting for Haltzman.

"Many of the dancers from the contributing companies and the RDT are on their way to professional careers," she explains.

"Collaborations like this just make the whole dance community in the Lehigh Valley so much richer."