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Barton Dance to Host Two-Night Spring Festival


By Joe Vinduska


GREAT BEND, Kan. — Barton’s Dance Department will host the “Moving in the Heartland” Dance Festival at 7 p.m. April 26 and 27 in the Fine Arts Auditorium. General admission tickets are five dollars at the door. Children and Barton students get in for free.

Instructor of Dance and Fine and Performing Arts Coordinator Danika Bielek said the concerts will highlight the quality of dance in our region. Performers will include Barton’s resident dance company Barton Dance Theatre, Barton dance classes, and local dance studios. The festival will also showcase choreography by Barton Dance students and alumni. Guest ballet companies Ballet Salina and Metropolitan Ballet Wichita will make up the second half of the evening’s performances with sections from ballet classics “La Bayadere” and “Swan Lake.”

“The event started as an end-of-the-year concert for our dance department,” she said. “As our relationships with regional dance studios developed, we thought it would be great to share the event with their dancers, too,” she said. “Now, we have expanded our participants to include dance companies from as far as Salina and Wichita. Audience members will see dances from groups spanning pre-teen, teenage, and college-age dance students to pre-professional and professional dancers.”

Bielek said she is pleased by how much the dance festival has grown over the past few years.

“All dance styles will be represented in this family-friendly show,” she said. “The addition of professional-quality ballet is a treat at the five-dollar admission price. I’m excited that Ballet Salina and Metropolitan Ballet Wichita will perform sections from some of the most highly regarded ballets. Their example will help our dance community prepare for our future dance project of producing a Nutcracker Ballet for Barton County.”

Ballet Salina’s Director and Barton Dance Department’s new Adjunct Instructor Mara Klenda is looking forward to having her dance company perform at the event.

“Ballet Salina is thrilled to be a part of Barton’s ‘Moving in the Heartland Dance Festival,’” she said. “As both the Artistic Director of Ballet Salina and adjunct faculty at Barton, I am fortunate to guide these talented young dancers in this truly magical partnership where they can explore different genres of dance, gain performing experience, and deepen their love of the art of dance.”

All dances from Barton Dance Theatre and Barton’s dance classes will be performed on both nights, along with Barton Dance soloists Rylee Ayon, Brooke Lewis, and ShaeLee Martinz.

April 26 performers will be Emily Wolfe, Aly’s Dance Studio, CJ Orozco, and Ballet Salina performing “Kingdom of Shades” from the ballet “La Bayadère.”

 April 27 performers will be Be Studios, Shane Voelcker, and Metropolitan Ballet Wichita performing Act II of the ballet “Swan Lake.”

For more information, go to or contact Bielek at (620) 792-9253 or [email protected].