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Mercyhurst hosts Erie Dance Consortium annual festival

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Twenty regional dance ensembles will converge on Mercyhurst University’s Mary D’Angelo Performing Arts Center as part of the Erie Dance Consortium’s Erie Festival of Dance on Saturday, Feb. 14.

The biennial festival, now in its 15th year, is a great opportunity to showcase the many talents of local and regional dance companies, according to Mark Santillano, president of Erie Dance Consortium and assistant professor of dance at Mercyhurst University.

“That’s what this event provides, an opportunity to share in an experience and interact with other artists in a non-competitive environment but, most of all, the Erie Festival of Dance brings our community together to celebrate a mutual passion and love of dance,” he said.

Headlining this year’s festival is the Get Down Gang, a Pittsburgh-based street dance and hip-hop crew that has toured nationally and internationally and appeared in battles, cyphers and other types of dance performances. The group has been featured in music videos by Public Enemy, Jay Sand, Dos Noun and VZE.

There will be two performances as part of the festival, one at 2 p.m. and one at 7 p.m. Participating companies at the 2 p.m. matinee include Lake Erie Ballet Junior, Patterson School of Dance, Dafmark Dance Theater, Dance Elite* Therapeutic Dance, SoMar Dance Works, Mercyhurst Liturgical Dance Ensemble, Erie Contemporary Ballet Theatre, Sayaw Dance Company, Mahovsky & Hertherington Ballroom, SheWorks Dance Theatre and the Get Down Gang. At the 7 p.m. evening show, CADENCE, Sayaw Dance Company II, Sovereign Ballet, Lake Effect Hoop Troop, Lake Erie Ballet Company, Erie Dance Theatre, Marguerite’s Academy of Dance Company, Lasyapria Bharatanatyam, Dance Elite* Performance Company, Mercyhurst Ballet Theatre and the Get Down Gang will perform. In addition, the Get Down Gang will offer community classes to the festival participants between the two shows.

“The diversity of styles is one of the most exciting features of the event,” said Santillano. “We’ve got everything from hip-hop to hula-hoops; ballroom to ballet; folk, modern, jazz and more. There really is something for everyone.”

The Erie Festival of Dance will take place on Saturday, Feb. 14, with performances at 2 and 7 p.m., at the Mary D’Angelo Performing Arts Center. Tickets to the Erie Festival of Dance are $15 general admission or $12 for children 12 and younger. Call 814-824-3000 for tickets.

This performance is sponsored in part by Erie Arts & Culture, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and Mercyhurst University.