Free public performance to open eyes with dance

Erica Crist

The School of Theatre and Dance is hosting a free public performance today that features professional dancers with and without disabilities performing together.

Presented by Verlezza Dance, the lecture/performance is from 11 a.m. to noon at the E. Turner Stump Theatre in the Music and Speech Building.

Kent State dance students and senior citizens from the Euclid Adult Activities Center, sponsored by the Cuyahoga County Board of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities, will join the dancers on stage for part of the performance.

“This is to introduce nontraditional dancers to the population of students here who have probably never seen dancers who don’t fit the typical definition,” said Barbara Allegra Verlezza, associate artistic director for Verlezza Dance and an assistant professor in the School of Theatre and Dance. “It’s not about them being different. It’s about us finding ways to blend our professional dancers and our university dancers with people who are simply inspired by dance.”

Short lectures about what is being expressed on stage and the history of Verlezza Dance will be given between the three performance pieces: “Dead Can Dance,” “Sunny Side of the Street” and “Angel.”

Verlezza said the audience will see society through new eyes after this performance.

“That new eye includes broadening our definition of what people can do,” she said. “It will promote the idea that we can look at all aspects of society in a much more inclusive way.”

After the performance, there will be a reception hosted by Yuko Kurahashi, an assistant professor in the School of Theatre and Dance, where audience members can meet the dancers.

Contact performing arts reporter Erica Crist at [email protected].