Letters

Letters 07-27-2015

Next For Brownfields In regard to your recent piece on brownfield redevelopment in TC, the Randolph Street project appears to be proceeding without receiving its requested $600k in brownfield funding from the county. In response to this, the mayor is quoted as saying that the developer bought the property prior to performing an environmental assessment and had little choice but to now build it...

Defending Our Freedom This is in response to Sally MacFarlane Neal’s recent letter, “War Machines for Family Entertainment.” Wake Up! Make no mistake about it, we are at war! Even though the idiot we have for a president won’t accept the fact because he believes we can negotiate with Iran, etc., ISIS and their like make it very clear they intend to destroy the free world as we know it. If you take notice of the way are constantly destroying their own people, is that living...

What Is Far Left? Columnist Steve Tuttle, who so many lambaste as a liberal, considers Sen. Sanders a far out liberal “nearly invisible from the middle.” Has the middle really shifted that far right? Sanders has opposed endless war and the Patriot Act. Does Mr. Tuttle believe most of our citizens praise our wars and the positive results we have achieved from them? Is supporting endless war or giving up our civil liberties middle of the road...

Parking Corrected Stephen Tuttle commented on parking in the July 13 Northern Express. As Director of the Traverse City Downtown Development Authority, I feel compelled to address a couple key issues. But first, I acknowledge that  there is some consternation about parking downtown. As more people come downtown served by less parking, the pressure on what parking we have increases. Downtown serves a county with a population of 90,000 and plays host to over three million visitors annually...

Home · Articles · News · Features · Let‘s Dance
. . . .

Let‘s Dance

Carol South - February 2nd, 2006
Crackling with exuberance and excitement, the 11-member Michigan Dance Collective will storm the stage at the City Opera House this Saturday, February 4.
Presenting a joint show with the InSync Dance Theater from Holland, the local adult dance troupe will present classic jazz, contemporary ballet, contemporary jazz and musical theater pieces. Themes incorporate a love triangle tragedy, being a modern woman, “The Look,” and power struggles between
a couple.
In other words, grown-up issues and real-life struggles played out in dance. Not to mention a lighthearted ensemble tribute to Ella Fitzgerald entitled “Sweet Elle Suite.”
Life experience is key, fuel that adult dancers can draw on to express love, loss and struggles as they flesh out their moves.
“The adult population, they are the ones who really appreciate the difference between the adult company and the student companies,” said co-founder Philip Leete, a veteran dancer, teacher and choreographer. “That was the feedback from last July.”

NEW WATERS
Launched a year ago by Leete and colleague Melinda Baker, the Michigan Dance Collective is charting new waters in the region, determined to raise the bar on dance. They want to educate audiences and generate enthusiasm about professional dance, just as jazz music has become a cultural touchstone here.
Despite the relatively small size of Traverse City and the surrounding communities, Michigan Dance Collective founders see a critical mass of arts and culture that could support a professional dance company. Film festival, arts shows, jazz festival, Blissfest …one day: dance festival.
“We hope to expose northwest Michigan to exciting new dance, to see fully mature dancers,” said Baker. “We have wonderful dance schools here but we don’t want people to think that dance stops after high school.”
Their first season last year featured a performance in July, also at the City Opera House and also a collaboration with InSync. Leete was one of InSync’s first members during his undergraduate years at Hope College. That company is Michigan’s only professional tap and jazz company.
A core principal or founding vision of the Michigan Dance Collective is collaboration. This spirit drives Baker and Leete as they seek out other artists – vocal, instrumental, visual – to weave into their performances. Guest musician Don Julin was part of the July show and plans to return for this one. The Cherry Capital Chorus’ barbershop quartet will accompany the dancers on another number in the show.

GUEST ARTISTS
The upcoming performance will also feature choreography by Interlochen dance instructor Mark Borchelt, who crafted a duet for Leete and Baker. Dancer Cara Steen, a former high school standout now dancing professionally in New York, choreographed another number, and Greg Patterson, a professor at Oakland University, a third.
“We’re excited about the amount of talent in Northern Michigan,” said Baker. “Beyond that, we’re hoping to occasionally showcase or fly in a guest artist from another place.”
Bristling with energy and the king of networking, Leete choreographed one piece for the February 4 event. A dance teacher at Dance Arts Academy, Ballet, Etc., and West High School, Leete is also the house manager at the City Opera House.
In fact, his life revolves around teaching, sharing, talking, breathing and performing dance.
“My true passion is the non-verbal communication aspect of dance, tying in the emotion,” said Leete, whose wife, Angela, is a member of the collective.
The sky’s the limit for Leete when he dreams about the Michigan Dance Collective’s future.
“I think if we could look forward ten years, we’d like to have a professional company that provides a contract to dancers for a performing season,” said Leete. “A 36-week contract for ten dancers.”

Tickets to the Michigan Dance Collective show at the City Opera House, scheduled for Saturday, February 4 at 7:30 p.m., are $15 for adults and $12 for students and seniors. Tickets are available at Horizon Books, by calling 409-0184 or at the door.
 
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