URI Dance Company to get ‘Wild About Dance’ April 28

Spring recital to celebrate warmer weather with jungle theme

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Photo by Michael Salerno Photography

Spring recital to celebrate warmer weather with jungle theme

KINGSTON, R.I. – April 16, 2013 – As the days get longer and temperatures rise, it’s a perfect time to join the University of Rhode Island Dance Company for a visit to the jungle and the savanna.

With costumes featuring leopard, snakeskin and camouflage prints, the 150 dance company members will get “Wild About Dance” when they present their spring recital Sunday, April 28 at 2 p.m. in Edwards Hall. Admission is $5 for the general public and $3 for students.

For Smithfield resident Kim Saccoia, the president and an instructor with the club, and her fellow seniors, it will be the last recital at URI. But don’t think for a minute this is going to be a low-key, sentimental presentation.

“We are going to be dancing to such tunes as Kool & the Gang’s Jungle Boogie, Guns & Roses Welcome to the Jungle and songs from Disney’s Tarzan and the Lion King,” Saccoia said.

“I am hoping the weather is great, so we can just get upbeat and psyched for summer,” she said. “We’re hoping to get some grass skirts to decorate the auditorium, and we are having special T-shirts made with a zebra print so the entire company can perform in the finale. Normally, the entire company comes out for a final bow as our finale, but this year we are all going to perform in the final piece. We’ve never done this before, so it should be exciting.”

As part of the program, the dance company will make a $1,000 donation to the Make A Wish Foundation.

“The donation is made possible by last winter’s recital, which attracted 600 people, one of biggest shows ever,” Saccoia said. “We also packed two big cars full of toys donated by patrons to the last show, which we gave to Children’s Friend Service.”

As the recital and commencement loom for Saccoia and her fellow senior dancers, it’s hard for the president not to look back at her time with the company.

“I will come back for sure,” she said. “I’ll come back for the shows and have dinner with alumni like Caroline (Vonasek), our treasurer. We have become very close friends.

“When I started at URI, dance was my focus, and it has been great to meet students from all over. I learned hip hop here.”

Saccoia credited her fellow officers and teachers for working extremely hard not only during rehearsals but also in handling the logistics for an active and large club.

“We could not accomplish what we do without a major commitment from our leadership team,” Saccoia said.

The officers/teachers for the club are: Kim Saccoia of Smithfield, R.I., President and Tap teacher; Kelhan Bradshaw of Dudley, Mass., Vice President and Jazz and Lyrical teacher; Caroline Vonasek of Monkton, Md., Secretary and Ballet and Lyrical teacher; Melanie Tomlinson of Cumberland, R.I., Treasurer, Gaby Dioguardi of Armonk, N.Y., Hip-hop teacher; and Lizzy Kowalik of Brookline, N.H., Pointe teacher.

IN THE COMPANY: Members of the University of Rhode Island Dance Company, who serve as officers and teachers, pose during a rehearsal for their spring recital, Wild About Dance, April 28. In the front row from left are: Kelhan Bradshaw of Dudley, Mass., Kim Saccoia of Smithfield, and Caroline Vonasek of Baltimore, Md.; middle row from left: Lizzy Kowalik of Brookline, N.H., Gabrielle Dioguardi of Armonk, N.Y., Melanie Tomlinson of Cumberland, and Sarah Moffitt of Narragansett, and back row, Erin Johnson of Foxboro, Mass., Lexi Morin of Standish, Maine, Katie Tower of Yardley, Pa., Gina Villano of Schenectady, N.Y. and Laura Marshall of North Providence.