The Spin

All across town, dance is lighting up the New Year

Rita Honka, Director of Dance Africa. Photo by Dakota Bouher
Rita Honka, Director of Dance Africa. Photo by Dakota Bouher

All across town, dance is lighting up the New Year.

A chapter in the local dance scene has closed, as Geni Morrow, who has served as the director of The Reach Center and its dance company The EDGE, also serving as the impresario behind the 20-year-running performance fundraiser Dance for a Reason, announced that there would be no Dance for a Reason this year.

For two decades, Dance for a Reason has given many hundreds of dancers the opportunity to perform and has raised thousands of dollars for local charities. Thank you, Ms. Morrow. We wonder: Who will take up the cause?

Kicking off performances in 2015, don’t miss the UO’s Dance Africa, when the celebrated company returns for its annual concert featuring guest performer Alseny Soumah. Always educational and entertaining, Dance Africa’s repertoire this year includes Nzobi, from the Congo; Gumboots, which evolved in mining camps in South Africa; Muchongoyo from Zimbabwe; Kassa from Guinea; and Yonvalou from Benin. Performances are 8 pm Thursday, Jan. 22, through Saturday, Jan. 24, at the Dougherty Dance Theatre, Gerlinger Annex; $10 general, $5 students and seniors. Tickets are available in advance from the UO Ticket Office, 346-4363.

Also on tap, DanceAbility International has recently received support from the Chambers Family Foundation to continue to develop its teen dance class for all abilities. Kellee Blanchard teaches classes for teens across the full spectrum of abilities and disabilities 3:45 pm Wednesdays, Jan. 14 through March 11. Register by calling 682-5311. In addition, grants from the Lane County Cultural Coalition and the Oregon Cultural Trust will allow DanceAbility International to expand its teaching and performances throughout Oregon.

And our friends at the City of Eugene Recreation & Cultural Services would like to remind everyone that they offer more than 20 dance classes in their neighborhood rec centers. Classes for toddlers include Pre-school Play & Dance, Hip Hop & Bop, Princess Dance and Tutu Tapping Tots. For pre-teens and teens, classes include beginner and increasing skill levels of ballet and hip hop, and tap and jazz. Classes for adults (ages 16 and up) include ballet, line, folk, belly and hoop dance, bhangra and Nia.

For more information, visit, or pick up a class schedule at any community center, pool or library.