Co’Motion Dance Theater to premiere ‘Mozart in the Closet’

Dancers rehearse Mozart in the Closet in the Toman Studio on Feb. 27. The dancers are practicing for Co’Motion Dance Theater’s production which will take place on March 5 in Forker and March 12 at Danzarts Studio in Des Moines.

Mike Burvee

Mozart-inspired music and modern dance will clash in “Mozart in the Closet.” The Ames-based Co’Motion Dance Theater will perform at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Toman Studio in Forker.

The performance will feature professional dancers who have danced for up to 20 years and professional-amateur dancers who have danced for about five to 10 years.

Tickets are available at the door and cost $15 for adults and $10 for students and seniors.

The performance will feature 10 different Mozart pieces that will include a duet with Valerie Williams, Co’Motion Dance director, and one of the pro-am dancers.

The performance will not be Williams’ first modern dance rodeo. Williams has danced for more than 40 years in theaters in England, Portugal, Canada and other countries, as well as across the United States.

Williams said she loves modern dance because it consists of movement opinions and individualistic ideas.

“Corporate dancers are told what to do and are expected to look the same, [but] modern dance gives each dancer the freedom to express the music how they want to, and that’s what makes it a more rich form of dance,” Williams said.

The repertoire of pieces in this year’s show will allow for different styles of contrasting movements, including legato versus staccato. Legato music allows for the dancers to be more fluid in movement and free-flowing, whereas staccato music results in more quick and rigid movements, Williams said.

Modern dance, in general, is more focused on how the individual dancer interprets the music. Although the movements may look the same, every dancer interprets the dance differently.

“Modern dance breaks the corporate form of dance,” Williams said. “When I say corporate, I’m talking about hip-hop, ballet and more popular forms of dance. One of the main differences is that in modern dance you dance barefoot to increase the variation in movement. Ballet is more focused on twirling and spinning. Modern dance isn’t focused on spins as much as individual interpretation.”

Some pieces include “Me Too,” “Serenade” and “Cassation.” Most of the dances will be group dances, in which the dancers will try to stay in unison. Some solos will also be performed throughout the dances.

University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate Karla Heflin will have multiple featured solos in the show and is considered a pro-am dancer for the group Co’Motion.

“Modern dance can be described as a type of raw dance,” Heflin said. “There’s a lot more freedom in how to express the dance by each dancer. Ballet is also considered as inspiration in how to initially think of movement regarding dance. The next step is interpreting the music individually. Modern dance is also more about giving off energy by using your whole body.”

Heflin said the most difficult thing about modern dance is having a variety of music with potentially different tempos means she needs to be focused at all times.

“Staying grounded and centered within your own body is key to modern dance,” Heflin said. “Once you do that the rest comes naturally.”

The performances will be family friendly, with some dances being more playful than others.

“It’s dance that any age can enjoy,” Heflin said. 

For more information, visit the Co’Motion Dance Theater website and Facebook.