Dance Ensemble marks 15 seasons of creative grace
‘The Best of EDE’
Evanston Dance Ensemble, Josephine Louis Theater, Northwestern University, 20 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston
7:30 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday, March 15-17
$22, $15 for children under 18, students and seniors
(847) 491-7282; www.tic.northwestern.edu
Audiences have been treated to 132 premieres during Evanston Dance Ensemble’s 15 seasons.
From March 15-17, they will have a chance to see a dozen favorite pieces again when the company presents “The Best of EDE” at Josephine Louis Theater in Evanston.
The difficult task of choosing the pieces to reprise fell to Evanston Dance Ensemble founder and co-artistic director Béa Rashid and co-artistic director Christina Ernst. Finding the right dancers was easier because the company, based at Dance Center Evanston, has molded many outstanding dancers, including Cara Hansvick of Evanston, Sasha Weiss of Skokie and Olivia Beckman of Evanston.
“I’ve been here since I was about 3,” Cara said. “It’s been such a positive influence on my life.” The Evanston Township High School senior is planning to study dance next year at either Butler University in Indianapolis or the University of Cincinnati. Her goal is to dance with a professional company, teach and possibly choreograph.
“You only get one chance to dance in your life and I don’t want to give this up,” Cara said. “I love performing and I love experiencing other dancers.”
Cara is dancing in three numbers for “The Best of EDE.” Mike Gosney’s “John Williams,” based on that composer’s music; the Beatles-inspired “And I Love Him” by Eddy Ocampo” and “Golden Slumbers,” by Béa Rashid.
She described Gosney’s piece as “more ballet but contemporary. It’s very whole-body, really great movement.” Cara danced in this piece three years ago but has a featured role this time.
The dancers wear flowing white dresses for Ocampo’s piece. “It’s all about passion,” Cara said.
“Béa’s piece is about leaving home,” the dancer related. Because this is the last year Cara can perform with EDE, she added that the theme hits, “kind of close to home.”
Sasha Weiss, a Niles North High School junior, began studying dance when he was 9, “but I got much more serious a couple of years ago,” he said. “I started watching some documentaries on ballet and it was inspirational.”
Sasha plans to continue studying dance after high school but isn’t certain if he will pursue it as a career, even though he appreciates the value of dancing.”It’s a way to express things that you would never be able to put into words,” he said.
He will dance in Lady Leah Hathaway’s “Hoedown.” “It’s sort of a slice of Americana, county fair sort of thing,” Sasha said. “It’s a fun piece, very comical in a lot of ways.”
“Vitruvian Man” is an excerpt from a larger piece choreographed by Rashid. “It’s a solo — which is sort of terrifying,” Sasha laughingly admitted. “It’s a very cool opportunity but it’s all on you.”
Sasha is also dancing in Christina Ernst’s “Neptune.” “Originally, it was danced by faculty members,” he reported. “It’s based on water — and the color blue.”
Olivia began studying at Dance Center Evanston when she was 3 to save the furniture. “I would dance around on top of coffee tables in my house all the time when I was a 2-year-old,” she recalled. “My mom thought it would be a good idea to put me into ballet lessons.”
Fourteen years later, Olivia is still hanging around Dance Center Evanston—sometimes 20 or more hours a week. So do Cara and Sasha. “It’s a great experience to be spending so much time here with people who care about you and care about your creativity,” Cara said.
She is hoping to major in dance at the University of Utah in the fall.
Olivia is dancing in two of the pieces in which Cara dances, “And I Love Him” and “Golden Slumbers.” She is also performing in “Fosse” by Julie Cartier. “That’s a fun, exciting jazz number,” Olivia said. “It’s kind of sexy but all in good fun. Kind of keeps the audience on its toes.”