Local Dancers Shake Off the Winter Blahs as Arts Collective Dance Company (ACDC) Presents Concert on March 6-8th by Carolyn Kelemen

Local dancers shake off the winter blahs

Even people who don’t normally like modern dance love watching the works of Joan Nicholas-Walker. There’s something very smart and seductive about the way she creates  – particularly when utilizing movement that blurs the line between the modern and jazz styles. Her Four Parts Love is set to great old love songs. Her When I Was…takes the audience on a sentimental journey. Sigh!


At the other end of the modern dance spectrum stands elegant dancer and choreographer Renee Brozic Barger. Her chiseled face and classically trained body easily could be envisioned in stark, introspective works set to minimalist music. Yet she is capable of surprising romps with her students and fellow faculty members at Howard Community College where she often creates dances that make one laugh out loud.

Both of these treasured local proponents of contemporary dance can be enjoyed in action this weekend for the ACDC Dance Company 8th annual concert at the college. While Renee is billed as the Artistic Advisor, it falls upon Joan’s shoulders to make sure things go off on cue. In the past this duo has put on some topnotch dance shows with both professionals and local dancers – shaking off those winter blahs, indeed.

This year’s program explores topics of love, vulnerability, turbulence and joy – let’s hope there’s more of the latter as we all could use some upbeat. What’s special about this program – and most college dance shows, in general – is the diversity of dance and the exposure of truly talented local dancers.

“There’s something for everyone in this concert,” enthuses Nicholas-Walker. “We have your pretty dance, your gritty dance, your fast action-packed dance, your fun dance, humorous dance and more.”\

Joan Nicholas Walker.
Joan Nicholas Walker.

One performer who didn’t have to travel far to showcase his talent is Trent Williams, Jr. who teaches dance at both HCC and Coppin College in Baltimore. sometimes we fail is a passionate piece based on life’s struggles. He is also a finalist for “Rising Stars,” part of the Howard County Arts Gala at the college March 29.

Desiree Koontz-Nachtrieb is another local talent, last seen in her sinuous solo of Arabian in The Nutcracker, choreographed by Kathi Ferguson for the Howard County Ballet. She has enormous stage projection, encompassing the space with her long extensions and strong, sustained arm movement. Above all, she’s a vamp, luring her audience with a slinky, sophisticated style that seems to need no accompaniment.

Two of the HCC dancers who pop in this show are Ricki Huff and Erin Lerew, featured in Barger’s duet, After Dinner. They deliver a sophisticated performance in this physically and emotionally challenging work.

Other planned highlights of the program include Evolutive Progressions, choreographed by visiting artist Brandon Sinclair, and In Memory, a contemporary duet by Karen Reedy, a popular dance director at George Mason University in Virginia.


The ACDC Dance Company Performance will take place at Howard Community College’s Smith Theater – 10901 Little Patuxent Parkway, in Columbia, MD this Thursday, Friday and Saturday, March 6-8, at 8 p.m. with an additional Saturday matinee at 3 p.m. A discussion with the cast and creative team follows the Friday evening show. Tickets are $15 for general admission; $12 for seniors, military and groups; and $10 for students can be purchased online Note the concert is not recommended for children under 12.

Howard Community College Presents Arts Collective Dance Company Concert March 6th to 8th.


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