The local performing arts group, SoCo Dance Theater, will bring their annual dance concert to the Sonoma State University campus to delight audiences with their unique style of contemporary dance. Past performances have featured this dance company’s very interpretive style, while the choreographersemphasize connecting the dancers to the music in a captivating style that is unlike other more rigid forms of dance. The movements are said to be very fluid, and audience members get a chance to experience a very expressive form of dance.
Kristen Daley, professor and department chair of Sonoma State’s Theater Arts and Dance Department, is also part of the SoCo Dance company and helped choreograph some of the musical numbers in the upcoming show. She describes this modern style of dance as an “experimental, artistic, contemporary approach,” and says there is “less of a stylized dance form” in the performance.
SoCo Dance Theater describes their group as a “dynamic and emerging professional and multi-generational company,” made up of eight dancers that range in age from 25-65. Many dancers are former faculty, professors and alumi; the company has deep roots within the Sonoma State community. Many of the dancers work professionally in shows in Oakland, San Francisco, Sonoma County and all across the Bay Area.
Daley has always had a passion for dance and the performing arts. A dance major, she moved to New York City post-graduation and has toured all over Europe and the U.S. before coming to the Sonoma State campus in 2003. Daley confesses that she has always had a passion to teach, and that working at Sonoma State, as well working as a choreographer for the SoCo Dance Theater, has given her the opportunity to fulfill that dream.
“I was always interested in teaching,” said Daley. “I always looked up to my professors as an undergrad. Getting my masters allowed me to transition to academia.”
Daley will be dancing in the musical number “This Way Up” and she choreographed “I Can See Everything From Here”, but she is just one of the talented minds behind this team of dancers, singers and choreographers. Daley stresses the importance of visual and performing arts and how it can “communicate [to] and move people in a variety of ways.”
“I hope they are inspired and invigorated, and bring their families to continue viewing performing arts,” said Daley.
Ticket sales and other support helps the dance company promote local art, dance and music within the community. The SoCo Dance Theater has recently been awarded a highly competitive grant from Bay Area Dancer’s Group and Theater Bay Area. This is a huge honor for the company, since only four grants were given out and they were the only North Bay company to receive it. Daley saysthey are using the grant to work with other local performing arts centers to “engage our community and increase visibility of contemporary dance in Sonoma County.”
SoCo Dance Theater continues to visit local schools and promote visual arts with community outreach, including “Dance Day”, something the company created to promote performing arts to young people.
The show is completely free for Sonoma State students (with ID) and there is a small fee of $10-17 for visiting students, faculty or general admission. The performances are scheduled for Feb. 20-21. Performances will be held in Ives Hall on the Sonoma State campus.