From First Step to Last Note: Dancers Drummers Dreamers Ignites the Senses

Thursday, March 3 2011

MOSCOW, Idaho – From the first step to the last note, Dancers Drummers Dreamers’ “No Strings Attached” features original music and dance in an integrated show that doesn’t stop until the last clap.

“It’s a very unique show,” said Greg Halloran, University of Idaho Department of Dance coordinator. “It’s non-stop entertainment for your eyes and ears.”

The dance and music performances, which run March 24-26, offer a collaboration that weaves a wide variety of student-composed music with student-choreographed dance. A delight to patrons of the arts, the collaboration also helps students learn to work with each other in a live environment.

Choreographer and dancer Heather Boni loves the challenge. The dance and psychology senior has been involved with the show for four years; this year, she expands her role to include dancer, choreographer and ensemble drummer.

“It’s very fun and very challenging,” said Boni, of Winnemucca, Nev. “It’s exciting too, you work so hard to create something in your mind and then you get to see it performed. You definitely feel good about your work.”

Boni has been choreographing a tap piece to which everyone can relate: getting something stuck on your shoe. The process is very collaborative. With an idea in mind, choreographers and composers work together to create a final piece. Boni began the choreography and rehearsal process before receiving her music, which means she has to be flexible in her choreography and the composer needs to be flexible with the music.

“It’s a great chance for the musicians to work with the dancers,” said Genesee’s Daniel Pitts. The fourth-year music education major added that it’s a very different kind of performance than music students usually participate in. “It’s not really a concert – it’s a show.”

The real challenge though, Boni said, is the live performance where dancers and musicians perform together.

“A dancer might miss a step or a musician might miss a note, but it’s all live and we work around it,” said Boni, adding with adrenaline in the mix, tempos may be faster or slower than practiced.

“Both sides have to work together to make it good,” said Pitts. “It’s great experience to gain as a student.”

The third element that makes the show unique is the percussion ensemble that keeps the cohesive feel of the show, merging the dances into one another. Starting off as a chance to give dancers time to change, the ensemble has become an integral part of the show, using chairs, buckets and whatever else the drummers can find.

“It’s a different kind of energy,” said Pitts. “There’s something for everyone in the show.”

While the production is student driven, Halloran said pieces are chosen and students have to try out. The dance try-out process is open to all students across the university and community members.

“It’s become a staple of the arts on the Palouse,” said Halloran. “It’s very much a family oriented show. Kids to grandparents love it.”

Performers also take an afternoon to present the show to area school children. And this year, a grant will take the show on the road to area schools for performances.

“I love performing for the kids; they really get into it, laugh and scream out,” said Boni.

Performances run Thursday through Saturday, March 24 – 26, at 7:30 p.m.; there is a 2 p.m. matinee on March 26 at the Hartung Theatre. Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for senior and youth tickets, and $9 for students.

Halloran says the production usually sells out before the event, so call ahead to reserve tickets. For more information or to purchase tickets via phone, call the University of Idaho Ticket Office at (208) 885-7212, or order tickets online from Tickets West at
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About the University of Idaho

Founded in 1889, the University of Idaho is the state’s land-grant institution and its principal graduate education and research university, bringing insight and innovation to the state, the nation and the world. University researchers attract nearly $100 million in research grants and contracts each year. The University of Idaho is classified by the prestigious Carnegie Foundation as high research activity. The student population of 12,000 includes first-generation college students and ethnically diverse scholars, who select from more than 130 degree options in the colleges of Agricultural and Life Sciences; Art and Architecture; Business and Economics; Education; Engineering; Law; Letters, Arts and Social Sciences; Natural Resources; and Science. The university also is charged with the statewide mission for medical education through the WWAMI program. The university combines the strength of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities and focuses on helping students to succeed and become leaders. It is home to the Vandals, and competes in the Western Athletic Conference. For more information, visit