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Palouse dancers find a place to shine

Natalie+Greenfield+and+Wesley+Petersen+rehearsing+their+contemporary+dance+duet+with+their+choreographer+Belle+Baggs%2C+right%2C+a+faculty+member+with+the+UI+Dance+Program.
Natalie Greenfield and Wesley Petersen rehearsing their contemporary dance duet with their choreographer Belle Baggs, right, a faculty member with the UI Dance Program.

Natalie Greenfield and Wesley Petersen rehearsing their contemporary dance duet with their choreographer Belle Baggs, right, a faculty member with the UI Dance Program.

Natalie Greenfield and Wesley Petersen rehearsing their contemporary dance duet with their choreographer Belle Baggs, right, a faculty member with the UI Dance Program.

CHLOE GRUNDMEIER | Evergreen reporter

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Festival Dance at the University of Idaho has helped community members all over the Palouse express themselves through dance. The group is holding a fundraiser this weekend titled “Dancing with Stars of the Palouse” to entertain the community, so they can continue this mission in the future.

Director of Festival Dance Abby Glanville and a committee of board members have been planning “Dancing with Stars of the Palouse” for more than a year. This fundraiser is a dance competition new to the area that features local dancers and gives first-time dancers a place to shine.

“Our hope was that the contestants would be people who are from different community groups that the audience will recognize,” Glanville said. “We think the audience will enjoy watching their friends and community members on stage.”

Five groups of performers will take the stage and be judged by three community members who are skilled in dance. The dance styles participants will perform range from ballet to swing, and the structure of the groups differ as well.

Heather and Tony Niccoli, Kelli and Nate Barham, and Natalie Greenfield and Wesley Petersen will perform duets. Aaron Couch and a group of Festival Dance ballerinas will perform a ballet, and Kelly Schiavoni and three of her friends will perform a group dance.

“Many of the individuals performing are first-time dancers,” Glanville said. “We wanted the message, that dance can be accessible to anyone, to be very clear.”

The groups of dancers have worked for the past couple of months with choreographers Melanie Meenan and Diane Walker of the UI Dance Program, Colleen Bialas and Tanya Volk of Festival Dance, and several others.

All proceeds will go to Festival Dance’s outreach programs that help teach community youths about dance, theater and musical performance.

“Many of our fundraisers haven’t really had any connection to the outreach programs they’re supporting,” Glanville said. “We wanted to build that connection with this fundraiser, so we’re showcasing community members in dance.”

Festival Dance will present “Dancing with Stars of the Palouse” at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday at the Kenworthy Performing Arts Centre in Moscow. Tickets cost $35, or $60 for two, and are available at BookPeople, the Festival Dance office, Neill’s Flowers and Gifts, and at the door if available.

“We hope this program will educate people on what Festival Dance does and about all of our outreach programs,” Glanville said. “We’re known for being a dance academy, but we do so much more.”

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Palouse dancers find a place to shine