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Thursday, August 15, 2013

Free Dance Theatre Northwest Performance Inspired by Local History

Three sisters—Bertha, Inger, and Pauline Leland—came from Norway in 1904 to settle in what is now University Place, Washington, located on the shores of Puget Sound southwest of Tacoma, an area once covered with forests of mighty trees. All three sisters married men involved with logging operations and established lives and families in the community. The sisters could never have imagined that 109 years later, the stories of their lives and other aspects of local history would inspire Dance Theatre Northwest’s Artistic Director Melanie Kirk-Stauffer to create a new work titled “Impressions.”
This unique dance interpretation of the community's past will be presented to the public free of charge, at 5 p.m. on Saturday, August 17, at the University Place Library Atrium, performed by DTNW Regional Company members, including Katie Neumann and Chhay Mam, as well as students of all ages. The program includes classical ballet, jazz, tap, and musical theater style dance.
DTNW Junior Company member Solana Sartain      Photo by Maks Zacharov
Kirk-Stauffer said, "We hope to honor our long time relationship with the University Place community. It has been fun for all of us to learn from the historical society and from the visit made to the fairly new Museum of History now located near UP City Hall.”
In the era of the Leland sisters' arrival, residents and the school district were so determined to build a university they gave their community the name “University Place” in anticipation of the future. The dreamed-of university never materialized but the name stuck. So did the community’s attitude toward the value of education, leaving a legacy of  excellent schools. The area also became known for its apple orchards, tomato farms, horse ranches, and early fire fighters, all of which have influenced "Impressions.
Kirk-Stauffer added, “I am grateful to the museum board members Howard and Barbara Lee for this opportunity as well as to the UP City representatives and to our dancers, volunteers and board members helping us to coordinate it all."
The Library Atrium is located at 3609 Market St. University Place, WA 98466 (Between 37th St W and Bridgeport Way W).

The company will also present a mini performance at Bridgeport Place on Friday, August 9th at 2:30 p.m. Bridgeport Place is located at 5250 Bridgeport Way W.

Admission and parking are FREE and both facilities are handicapped accessible.  For more information call: (253) 778-6534.
The photo of the Leyland sisters was provided by the University Place Historical Society.


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