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Downtown Dance

Young dancers from a contemporary level 1 class at Downtown Dance perform in the Spring Showcase two years ago. The annual show, featuring dancers of different ages and skill levels, returns with performances Friday and Saturday at the Majestic Theatre. 

Dance is a good reflection of diversity, says Katherine Sanders, the owner and artistic director at Downtown Dance in Corvallis.

That diversity will be on display Friday and Saturday, as about 180 dancers from the studio's classes, ages 4 to 40 and including all skill levels, perform in the sixth annual Spring Showcase at the Majestic Theatre.

"All different people are going to be seen enjoying dance," Sanders said. "One minute you're watching 4-year-olds up there with me because they're not quite ready to be on their own, and the next you're watching rather advanced dancers in their 20s, 30s and 40s dancing in all different styles."

The Corvallis dance studio teaches two main styles of dance, contemporary and hip-hop, with more specialized classes like jazz, lyrical and children's creative dance also available.

The showcase is a culmination of what students from every dance class have learned throughout the year and includes 20 new dances.

One new dance, "In the Moment," marks the first time Downtown Dance will feature live music at the Spring Showcase, Sanders said.

The piece, which will be performed by the Adult Repertory Group, is an improvisational dance set to live music that is also improv.

Sanders likened it to going to listen to musicians play improvisational jazz.

"We are doing the same just in a different art form and performance setting," she said. "There is that real conversation that happens between the musicians and dancers, and the audience gets to witness that."

The Youth Contemporary Group will perform a piece called "Drift." The choreography came from a study of water movement and the piece features themes of love and relationships, Sanders said.

Three other instructors from Downtown Dance will introduce new material at the showcase.

Over the years, Sanders has received feedback from audience members who thought the performance was fun, and on occasion so moving it brought some to tears.

She thinks it is because children with special needs and older community members are given an opportunity to dance that they may not find elsewhere.

"It's a real showing of real people just sharing and putting their hearts out into this dance," Sanders said.

The showcase closes with a piece called "Dancin' in the Streets," by D3, a youth hip-hop group.

"It's a throwback to the idea of dance battles," Sanders said.

It ends with all the performers coming together to dance as a community.

"We're sending them home with a reminder that dance is a really fun part of a community, and we are offering that at Downtown Dance," Sanders said.