Get to know your local artists: Wilmington area

January 7, 2013 § Leave a comment

The NCDF comes to Wilmington early this year!  Catch the Festival this weekend, January 11-13 at the Cultural Arts Building at UNC-Wilmington (8:00pm Fri and Sat; 3:00pm Sunday).  Held for many years at the Community Arts Building, this is the first year the Festival will be featured on the UNCW campus–come see us in the new space!

Each year, The Dance Cooperative selects dance works from the active Wilmington dance community to be presented alongside the NCDF Touring Artists.  This year, artists Nancy Podrasky Carson, Anne Firmender, Linda Larson, Sue Meier, Kate Muhlstein, Brittany Patterson, Alyona Suslova, Tracey Varga, and Heather Wells will present work.

All of these artists have performed and/or presented work with the NCDF in recent years, and participate in other ways in the Wilmington dance community.  Tracey Varga, director of Forward Motion Dance Company, describes the community as “ever-growing with more opportunities to present works,” and is inspired by the support from the art and music communities, who are “open and enthusiastic about collaborating” with local choreographers and dancers.  Choreographer Alyona Suslova echoes this love for the Wilmington dance community; she says “they always support each other, give feedback for your performances if you ask, and always try to help you with your needs.”

Here’s a sneak peek into some of the local artists and their dances:

Photo by Susie Linquist

Heather Wells has enjoyed dancing as long as she can remember.  She has been an instructor of dance in Wilmington, North Carolina for over 15 years and enjoys teaching modern and ballet at Dance Arts Conservatory.  Heather also works for the North Carolina Coastal Reserve.

Heather’s piece “Way Out In the Water” pays homage to creatures of the undersea world.  Movement was inspired by many animals, but the muse from the beginning was the sea hare (Aplysia species).  These marine mollusks move by undulating their wing-like parapodia (literal translation is side foot).   Though not as well known or loved as many of the more charismatic marine creatures, these graceful herbivores live in the shallow waters of North Carolina and throughout the world’s oceans.  The music is an instrumental version of The Pixies “Where is My Mind?”, recorded by Vitamin String Quartet.

Tracey Varga

Tracey Varga is the director of Forward Motion Dance Company. Her performance, teaching and choreographic experience includes works with and for a variety of dance companies in Maryland, Washington, Idaho, Illinois and New York. Locally she has presented works at Dance-a-Lorus, NCDF, Thalian Hall, City Stage, The Community Arts Center and the Cameron Art Museum. Tracey teaches modern/ jazz and tap dance at the Wilmington School of Ballet and is a licensed Physical Therapist. She serves as program coordinator for the Arts Sensation benefit concert, and Dance Blast festival.

For this year’s NCDF, Tracey will present “Wounded Restoration,” a new work set to music from the opera “Bejazet,” by Dimitri Silnitsky.  The movement has been created to bring the emotion of pain, hurt, heartache  to the piece, followed by the stage of shedding the anger, hurt and working toward strength and the freedom of letting go.


Alyona Suslova will present a duet for dancers Sam Williams and Bonnie Dixon.  Alyona prefers to create dances based on individual personalities; she likes to experiment with her dancers, and often asks for their creative activity and open minds to make a piece.  Alyona is originally from Krasnoyarsk, Russia (Siberia).  She has studied dance in Russia, France, Lithuania, USA, and has participated in several different festivals.  In Russia she had her own dance company and dance school.  She feels that people of each age can dance and has had a lot of experience teaching adults and children who have never danced before, but have a big desire to dance.  She also teaches advanced level for professional dancers.  She moved to Wilmington in August 2011.

See these works and more this weekend!  These local artists will be performing with the NCDF Touring Artists, who have been presenting their work throughout NC during the Fall.  If you missed our behind-the-scenes glimpses into these Touring Artists, you can catch up below:

E.E. Balcos/E.E. Motion

Lauren Kearns/Kearns Dance Project

Carol Finley

Gaspard Louis/Gaspard and Dancers

John Gamble/John Gamble Dance Theater

Jan Van Dyke/Van Dyke Dance Group

Autumn Mist Belk/Code f.a.d. Company

Gary Taylor/Winston Salem Festival Ballet

For full performance details and directions, visit our website.


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