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Mercyhurst Dancers open season with DANCE 1-2-3

Monday, October 26, 2015

Matthew Huefner & Sophia Andreyev

The Mercyhurst University Dance Department opens its 2015-16 season Nov. 6-8 with DANCE 1-2-3 at the Mary D’Angelo Performing Arts Center. The one-hour event will showcase the unique talents of an extraordinary generation of dancers from around the world in solos, duets and trios.

For the new season, the dance department also introduces a new Dance Flex Pass, a discounted pricing option that allows audience members to attend three performances for the price of two. Artistic Director Tauna Hunter says, “I’m elated to offer this option as a way to build an audience for our gifted dancers and to support our community partners, The Regional Cancer Center Foundation, Second Harvest Food Bank, SafeNet and LifeWorks. I’m looking forward to a very exciting and successful season.”

DANCE 1-2-3 will be presented Friday, Nov. 6, at 4:30 p.m.; Saturday, Nov. 7, at 2:30 and 7 p.m.; and Sunday, Nov. 8, at 2 p.m. The performances will showcase choreography by historical dance figure Marius Petipa and the work of Erie choreographers Tauna Hunter, Danielle Kaiser and Solveig Santillano.

Balancing a program that includes The Nutcracker and Harlequinade Pas de Deux will be a romantic duet by Kaiser inspired by her recent marriage and a male solo by Hunter to the electronic music of Peter Terry.

Santillano’s premiere provides a dramatic and emotional look at the effects of cancer.  “This piece has been very moving for me to work on,” says Santillano. “The text is drawn from the blog of a dear friend who has become, through her illness, a full-time advocate for finding a cure for cancer and busting common myths about the disease.”

She describes her friend Laura - currently in her second year battling metastatic breast cancer – as “smart, funny, angry and real.” She said she hopes the piece will encourage people to support efforts both locally and globally to find a cure.

Audience members can meet and talk with the dancers and choreographers during “Talk Back” sessions in the theater after the Friday and Saturday evening shows.

The Saturday evening performance ticket will include a “Dress-Up '70s Disco Dance” party until midnight, featuring a disc jockey, late-night snacks, costume prizes and a Chinese auction to benefit the Regional Cancer Center Foundation.

Tickets are $15 for adults; $10 for students and seniors; $5 for Mercyhurst students and children 12 and younger; and $7.50 for President’s Card holders. Anyone presenting a Regional Cancer Center ID can attend for $5. To purchase tickets, visit or call the box office at 814-824-3000.

The Dance Flex Pass is available only through the box office. Each pass provides admission to three performances during the season, and can also be used for Beyond Words V featuring Mercyhurst Ballet Theatre and SoMar Dance Works (March 18-20) and Raw Edges, an annual showcase of emerging choreographers (May 6-8).

In addition, the dance department will present the family holiday favorite ‘Tis the Season: The Little Match Girl on Dec. 4-5. All tickets for ‘Tis the Season are just $5.