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Ballet repertory group to make campus debut

In their real lives, they are premed majors, future engineers, aspiring Nobelists. But when the members of the Dance Division's ballet repertory class take the floor in Roble, each transforms into danseuse and danseur. They are exacting in their turns, flawless in their arabesques, resplendent in their powder blue tutus.

On Friday and Saturday, March 6 and 7, at 8 p.m., the class will perform in the Roble Dance Studio. Its repertoire includes classical and contemporary ballet numbers as well as a modern dance piece.

"It's a company formed directly in response to students' desire to do more ballet," says Janice Ross, a lecturer in the Dance Division. "None of these students are ballet majors. They are premed or electrical engineering and everything in the world. And they manage to find the time to rehearse 10 hours a week to get the show together," Ross adds.

The class was started in September and is directed by Kristine Elliott, who teaches intermediate and advanced ballet in the division. Although there was no audition required to participate, most of the students have a solid background in ballet.

"Most of them have had really fine training and a lot of it," says Elliott. "I think that they're trying to find a place to dance, while they're really pursuing their academic goals. They obviously love to dance, and I want to give them that time while they're at school to express themselves."

One of the major challenges for Elliott has been finding male participants. Of the five male dancers in the 17-member ensemble, only two are Stanford students. The others include two imports from the San Francisco ballet community and a major Bay Area ballroom dancer.

"In the repertory class there are no men registered," Elliott says. "I hope [to] attract more men."

Susan Cashion, coordinator of the Dance Division, praises Elliott for lending her expertise to the endeavor. She also credits Provost Condoleezza Rice for making special funds available for the group. "It's the combination of having the funding and having Kris. Expansion is very difficult if you don't have the funding," Cashion says, noting that Rice has extended that financial support for three more years.

This weekend's performance includes excerpts from Serenade, a George Balanchine work to Tchaikovsky's Serenade for Strings. State of Annihilation is a riveting modern piece choreographed by the dance faculty's Robert Moses. The group also will perform Ravelesque, a stunning contemporary ballet piece and two acts of Coppelia, a classical number.

"We've been in there weekends, evenings. We've been ambitious about what we wanted to do," Elliott says. The group performed recently at the Viennese Ball and at a retirement center in Portola Valley.

"I'm just trying to get them as many opportunities as possible to perform," Elliott says.

The performances will begin at 8 p.m. in Roble Dance Studio March 6 and 7. The suggested donation is $5. For more information, call 723-1234.


By Elaine Ray

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