Eugene Buchanan

November 9, 2017


Dancing has always come naturally for local Roddy Beall, voted this year's Best Dancer. Something about the grace and athleticism required has always resonated with the former high school soccer star.

"I've always liked dancing," he says. "It was something I was naturally good at. I love the rhythm and movement of it, no matter what type I'm doing."

He found one type he likes by accident while attending the University of Colorado. "I kind of haphazardly discovered it in college when some friends suggested joining a dance class," he says. "So I checked it out."

When it finished, he went to an end-of-semester dance party thrown by a West African dance class, whose drummers were a pair of brothers from Ghana. "It was super cool," he says. "I just jumped in and started dancing and they liked it. Afterward, they came over and said they had a dance company, so I joined it for the next few years."

From 2003 through 2007, Beall practiced a couple nights a week with them, performing gigs on weekends. They also traveled to Ghana for performances. "I dove headlong into it," he says. "It was probably something my parents thought I devoted too much time to."

After college, Beall pursued dancing in New York City for a spell, but returned to Steamboat for its community. "One of the things that brought me back was the Steamboat Dance Theatre," he says. "People are pretty serious about it here, and they put on a professional-level show."


He adds that he's humbled by the recent recognition. "There are some real dancers in town who are incredibly good," he says. "They're true professionals, and I'm not in that category. I just do it for fun."

He says that he now has what he calls a "dance" season, just like he has a ski season, kayak season and soccer season. It usually runs from October to February, when the dance theater hosts its annual show.

"Roddy's a committed dancer, who brings great energy and technique, and he has an infectious smile when he's out there," says Steamboat Dance Theatre board president Kristen Jespersen. "He has a mastery of a number of different styles. He's also breaking the glass ceiling when it comes to men dancing. Ever since he joined, a lot more men have participated, both at the studio and in the show."

Beall enjoys bridging the gender barrier. "People like to see a guy dancing," he says. "People can see I'm having a really good time, and I think they feed off my energy. They can tell that I love it. I love to push myself and try new things."

Beall has also danced ballet in the annual Nutcracker performance for the past five years, and is a regular in the annual Dancing with the Stars fundraiser, winning it once with partner Millie Flanigan. "But I was in drag," he says, further graying the gender lines. "We were wearing matching gold dresses."





Photo By: John F. Russell
Photo By: John F. Russell

By Luke Graham

Tuesday, March 12th, 2013


 — Roddy Beall stood in the lobby of Steamboat Springs High School on Tuesday night stretching his arms across his body and laughing.

He was admittedly anxious.

“I’m nervous,” he said. “I’m so nervous.”

Beall is entering new territory with his choreographed piece titled “The Future of Man.”

It’s not that Beall is new to dance. He’s done Steamboat Dance Theatre three times, was in Steamboat’s version of "Dancing With the Stars" and spent years in Boulder in an African troupe called Logo Ligi.

But for the second time in the 41-year history of Steamboat Dance Theatre, there will be a dance with an all-male cast.

“Roddy met me out on the dance floor one night,” said Jordan Worden, who was recruited by Beall after doing a backflip at The Tap House Sports Grill one evening. “He asked me if I wanted to do it. I love it. It’s one of the best things I’ve ever done.”

The first show is at 7 p.m. Thursday in the high school auditorium. There are also 7 p.m. shows Friday and Saturday and a children’s matinee at 12:30 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $15 for general admission, $12 for students and seniors and $20 for reserved seating. One child gets in free with an adult for the children's matinee.

The theme of the show is world travel. It features 12 pieces, including hip-hop, country, aerial, hoop, belly dancing, jazz and modern dance, among others.

After last year's performance, several longtime Dance Theatre choreographers stepped down.

“It’ll make it a unique show,” Producer Janet Peasley said. “There is a lot of fresh choreography and dances.”

Maybe none more so than Beall’s. It features 14 dancers, half of whom never have danced onstage. Beall recruited the dancers in his piece by going to dance parties and reaching out to athletic teams, which is appropriate considering Beall described the feeling before a performance as similar to "how it feels in a locker room before a game.”

“I love dance for the same reason I love sports,” Beall said.

Beall’s theme was derived from his work with Integrated Community and his hope to bring more men into the production. It’s the first all-male dance piece in years, Peasley said. The last one featured men in drag.

“It’s different,” said 12-year-old Marty St. Pierre, who has danced for seven years mostly with girls. “It’s not what you see every day. Usually, it’s a ton of girls and maybe a few guys. Roddy really did well with this piece. It’s not the most technical, but it’s the most creative.”



Photo by: Matt Stensland
Photo by: Matt Stensland

By Nicole Inglis

Thursday, October 13th, 2011


 — Gina Toothaker remembers Steamboat Dance Theatre the way it was in 1986. It was her first year in the annual dance recital, and she performed in a lyrical jazz piece called “The Wind.” There were 30 to 40 people in the production then. This year, the cast could comprise more than 120 dancers.

“When I started, it was just really cool to do something artistic and creative in such a small town,” said Toothaker, who has participated in and choreographed for the annual fundraising concert on and off for 25 years.

“I think it’s so neat that it’s still in existence after 40 years. What’s cool is we have the whole gamut, from people who have never set foot in a dance studio to professional dancers, and we have room for all of them.”

Auditions for the 40th Steamboat Dance Theatre concert take place this weekend.

This year, auditions have been split up into two days, with registration at noon Saturday and 9 a.m. Sunday.

There are auditions for different pieces each day, and dancers don’t have to attend both days if they are interested only in a particular piece on a certain day.

After registration, there will be a warm-up and announcements followed by half-hour auditions for each piece that involves learning a few counts of the dance.

There likely will be space in one of the dances for everyone who auditions. There are options for beginners and experienced dancers, with styles ranging from belly and tap dance to hoop and hip-hop. This year’s theme is 40 Years of Steamboat Dance Theatre, and choreographers are drawing inspiration from various decades, historical events, fads and music from the past four decades.

Meg Widmer, who teaches belly dance in Steamboat, is a co-producer of the concert for the first time this year after six years involved with the program. Her intermediate belly dance piece will pay homage to the year 1987 — set to Guns N’ Roses’ “Welcome to the Jungle.”

The theme is wide-reaching on purpose, and choreographers have drawn motivation this year from concepts such as the Rodney King incident and crop circles.

“It’s just a great way to meet people, dance, stay in shape, perform and do something that gives back to the community,” Widmer said about being a part of the concert. There also are opportunities to be a part of the technical crew. “The show is the main source of fundraising for our scholarship program, and all of it stays local. It’s really fun to perform, but it’s nice knowing that Routt County benefits.”

In its 2010-11 year, Dance Theatre gave away $5,000 in dance scholarships to local children, teens and adults who wanted to take dance lessons but couldn’t afford to.

Dance Theatre also brought in professional dance companies to classes, supported local studios and, most recently, brought a hip-hop troupe from the Front Range to do an outreach program in local public schools.

“It lifts the spirit, and it creates joy,” said Dance Theatre President Traci Smith. “Especially when we’re going thorough hard times — there’s a lot of negativity around — this is a huge positive for our community.”

As for the concert itself, Smith said the weekly rehearsal commitment of six months can seem like a lot. But Dance Theatre has become her life.

"We basically work our butts off all the way through to the show,” she said. “But I’ve made the best friends of my life, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”



Photo by: John F. Russell
Photo by: John F. Russell

By Luke Graham

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


 — In her second year as Steamboat Dance Theatre director, Tiana Buschmann is not afraid to compare this year’s production with last year’s.

With 18 pieces, more than 130 dancers and a central theme of Montage in Motion, Buschmann said this year’s version, the 39th annual, would be much better.

"The idea this year is that it’s so cohesive,” said Buschmann, who oversees the artistic portion of the show. “It has one concept that flows through the entire show. In the past, it’s been very individual pieces. It was more recitalish. This year, it’s a production and not just a dance show.”

The program features choreographed dances in styles including ballet, belly dance, hip-hop, jazz, contemporary, hoop dance and line dance.

The two-hour show opens at 7 p.m. Thursday at Steamboat Springs High School. Performances continue at 7 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $15 for general admission, $20 for reserved seating and $12 for students and seniors. Tickets are available at All That Jazz.

The 2 p.m. Saturday performance will be a children’s show, when a free child ticket will be available with each adult ticket purchase.

The change in this year’s show has all the dances taking on different movies. There will be an “Alice in Wonderland” set, a “Godfather” set, an “Inception” set and a James Bond set, among others.

“There are a number of different individual pieces to something that has some sort of cohesiveness,” said Kelly Erickson, one of the show’s producers. “You have that theme and connection.”

In addition to the 130-plus dancers, about 30 volunteers help put on the show.

The shows usually sell out or nearly sell out, so Buschmann and Erickson encouraged people to buy tickets as soon as possible.

Proceeds from concert tickets and sponsorships cover the cost of the production and support Steamboat Dance Theatre’s outreach projects. Those projects include a scholarship program offering financial assistance for Routt County students to take dance classes, a biannual concert series featuring nationally recognized dance companies, and workshops and master classes by guest artists.

“For people who haven’t seen the show, it’s a great opportunity to see people in this community that they know in a different light,” Erickson said. “It’s a great show of the depth of talent this community has to offer.”




Photo by John F. Russell
Photo by John F. Russell

Christie Ginanni, a dance instructor for Elevation Dance Studio, teaches an intermediate dance class Tuesday. She will be choreographing a piece for the Steamboat Dance Theatre Annual Concert in March. Auditions are at 2 p.m. Sunday at the studio.


Photo by Matt Stensland  Dancers rehearse Electric Feel choreographed by Nicci Curd on Thursday at Rocky Mountain Dance. Proceeds from the concert benefit the Dance Theatre Scholarship Program
Photo by Matt Stensland Dancers rehearse Electric Feel choreographed by Nicci Curd on Thursday at Rocky Mountain Dance. Proceeds from the concert benefit the Dance Theatre Scholarship Program


— Kailee Davis has been dancing since she was 2. Last fall, it looked as if she might have to put her dancing on hold.

“This was the first year that we had to pull the plug on a lot of things, and dance was one of them,” said Christina Davis, Kailee’s mother.

Like many families, the Davises had to take a hard look at their spending in recent months. Expenses such as dance classes and Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club activities for 9-year-old Kailee had to be cut.

“I think she understood and she felt lucky that she’s been able to take dance all these years. I think if she was bummed out she didn’t show it in the beginning,” Christina Davis said.

Things turned for the better in December, when Davis learned Kailee had been awarded a scholarship to participate in local dance classes from the Steamboat Dance Theatre. Unsure about how much the scholarship would cover at first, Davis soon learned the Dance Theatre had sent a check to Kailee’s dance teacher to cover all classes through the studio’s spring recital.

“When I told her that I applied for the scholarship and I told her that she got it — I’ve never seen her so excited. She jumped for joy and just started screaming and was just telling everybody, ‘I’m going to be in dance, I’m going to be in dance again,’” Davis said.

Kailee is one of eight students ages 4 to 24 to benefit from the Dance Theatre scholarship this program year. In 2008-09, 29 students received help. The year before, 28 students benefited. In the past three years, the scholarship fund has provided more than $10,000 to students in North­west Colorado to participate in a variety of dance pursuits, Dance Theatre board president Traci Cameron said.

“We just think that keeping dance and the arts in people’s lives — and especially in children’s lives — is very, very important, and with the way people are struggling now, we’re really happy we can help lots of people,” Cameron said.

Any area resident with an interest in taking a dance class or workshop, attending a summer program such as those offered at Perry-Mansfield Per­forming Arts School and Camp or pursuing other dance options may apply for a scholarship, Cameron said. Between 80 and 90 percent of scholarship recipients are children, but there is no age limit to apply, she said.

A scholarship committee reviews applications six times a year to coincide with classes offered locally and to “try to capture everyone who has a need,” Cameron said.

The scholarship fund is furnished in part by proceeds from the annual Dance Theatre concert. The 38th annual show starts Thursday at the Steam­boat Springs High School auditorium. Performances are at 7 p.m. Thursday through Sat­ur­day and 2 p.m. Saturday.

Concert proceeds, sponsorships, grant writing and other revenue sources also fund other portions of the Dance Theat­re’s mission, said former board president and local dance instructor Wendy Smith Mikel­sons.

Through its community outreach programming, Steamboat Dance Theatre hopes to bring a professional dance company to Steamboat for a performance sometime in 2011, she said. A series of workshops with guest teachers in jazz, hip-hop and contemporary styles is in the works for May, she said.

“Our annual concert serves as a fundraising vehicle for all these programs,” Smith Mik­elsons said.

The scholarship program has been going for about eight years, she said.

“We just felt this would be a great thing to offer to the community because we knew there were definitely people out there who would like to study dance but who just couldn’t afford to, and that was preventing them,” Smith Mikelsons said.

For young dancers like Kai­lee, the program offers a chance to keep pursuing the art that has been a source of confidence since a young age, Christina Davis said.

“That scholarship program is awesome because it helps families like ours who really want to keep their kids in dance,” Davis said.

“I just see the confidence that it gave my daughter growing up that we were able to pay for, and now that we can’t it just gives us so much hope to see that she’s doing something she loves.”

For full article visit: Steamboat Pilot & Today


Photo by Matt Stensland | Dance class instructors Charles Horton and Polly Idol share a laugh while dancing Thursday at Northwest Ballet Studio.
Photo by Matt Stensland | Dance class instructors Charles Horton and Polly Idol share a laugh while dancing Thursday at Northwest Ballet Studio.

During her more than 35 years living in Steamboat Springs and throughout her life, Polly Idol never has stopped dancing.

She went to big community dances with her parents as a child, taking in all their steps and energy. She majored in dance education in college, and after moving to Steamboat, she taught classes and helped found the Steamboat Dance Theatre.

As couples dance became popular here, she jumped at the chance to stay close to her passion while dancing with her friends and community members.

To go without dancing for even a few days would be a lifestyle “that I don’t really want anything to do with,” Idol said Thursday afternoon as she and dance partner Charles Horton prepared for a new set of classes at Northwest Ballet Studio that evening.

The two have been sharing their love of swing, foxtrot, salsa, cha-cha, two-step and other social dance forms with Steamboat Springs as a teaching duo for about five years.

It’s not the formal, competitive style of ballroom dance potential students might have seen on “Dancing With the Stars.” Instead, it’s a style that’s more social, meant for people to revel in dancing in someone else’s arms.

“More than that, it’s a conversation that happens nonverbally with people,” Horton said. Dancers form a connection, communicating an artistic notion with their interpretations, Idol said.

Making steps their own

In an advanced-level class at Northwest Ballet Studio on Thursday night, Horton and Idol encouraged their students — four couples who had taken their classes before — to move their own way with the music, playing with the steps and having fun with their basic knowledge.

Their students come to lessons as a date night, as an outlet to practice the steps they already know or as a chance to check one more item off their “bucket list,” Idol said.

The pair’s social dance classes range in size, going as small as four or five couples and as large as almost 20 sets of dancers, Horton and Idol said.

Horton also teaches classes for people looking for help getting through their wedding dances. He and Idol offer private lessons or quick tutorials at community events on an on-demand basis.

Idol also occasionally teaches country styles, and goes out dancing socially as often as she can, finding open floors at community events such as Backcountry Ball or Ski Ball; public concerts by the Steamboat Swings community big band; or during country performances at Ghost Ranch Saloon.

“One of our greatest joys in a small community like this is that we see our students out dancing and enjoying each other,” Idol said.

Horton came to formal couples dancing years after Idol. He’d always loved to dance and started taking classes in the late 1990s after seeing a movie called “The Tango Lesson.” After seeing that movie, Horton decided he wanted to be able to dance into his 80s. The steps he learned in classes stuck, and he started teaching with Idol in fall 2004 after she asked him to put together a piece for the Steamboat Dance Theatre’s annual concert, he said.

New class starts Feb. 18

Horton and Idol spend about as much time preparing dance routines and teaching techniques for their classes as they do leading them. After their advanced-level class wraps up in February, they’ll offer a similar set of steps to beginners in a six-week class from Feb. 18 to March 25. They expect the class to fill up and encourage anyone interested in participating to register early.

Horton, a massage therapist, and Idol, an educational materials developer for TIC, said they’d have trouble fitting more than one class a week into their already full schedules.

The highlight of their teaching pursuits so far has been leading a lesson to more people than they could see at a Steamboat Swings community concert and dance in March, Horton and Idol said.

For full article visit | Steamboat Pilot & Today


Photo by Matt Stensland | Choreographer Tiana Buschmann, front, practices with her dance group Thursday night during rehearsal at Northwest Ballet Studio. The group will perform the "It Was All In Your Mind" at this year's show.
Photo by Matt Stensland | Choreographer Tiana Buschmann, front, practices with her dance group Thursday night during rehearsal at Northwest Ballet Studio. The group will perform the "It Was All In Your Mind" at this year's show.

Tiana Buschmann's biggest challenge as a choreographer: "The dancers."

Tiana Buschmann's favorite thing about being a choreographer: "Being with my dancers."

"It's a love-hate relationship," Buschmann said, explaining the challenges that come with creating and rehearsing a piece for the 37th annual Steamboat Dance Theatre Concert.

In the show - which opens at 7 p.m. Thursday in the Steamboat Springs High School auditorium - Buschmann's hip-hop piece will join 17 others. For the past five-plus months, about 80 dancers and choreographers have rehearsed weekly to put together original pieces in styles including jazz, African, modern, hip-hop, lyrical, tap and swing.

The time commitment is huge - Buschmann said she spends at least an hour choreographing for each hour of rehearsal. By that measure, she's spent at least 24 hours planning "It Was All In Your Mind," a hip-hop piece set to music by Linkin Park and Wade Robson. Buschmann describes the style not as "music video, booty-shaking hip-hop," but as "cleaner and more theatrical in a way."

On Thursday evening at Northwest Ballet Studio, Buschmann was getting ready to lead her last group rehearsal for the piece, which she has choreographed in chunks since the Dance Theatre held open auditions in September. The group has made a lot of progress since then, said dancer Audrey Alessi.

"Seeing the final product of what we've done the entire time, it's like, 'Wow,'" Alessi said.

"I remember when we learned those first three moves, and you're like, 'What is my body doing?' Just going from that to the three minutes on stage" is gratifying, she said.

Choreography from a vision

Dance Theatre choreographers meet in the early fall to propose pieces and get an idea of the diversity in the concert program. The company holds auditions in September, and each choreographer teaches a set of steps and chooses dancers.

Some - such as swing dance instructor Jenny Meier - come to auditions with most of their piece ready to go on stage.

Others - Buschmann included - need to see their dancers before the piece can come together.

"I'm an oddball choreographer," Buschmann said, explaining her concepts don't really happen until she has dancers to choreograph them on. If she has an amazing gymnast to work with, or a jazz dancer or a break-dancer, she's going to incorporate that into the piece. The goal is to make the dancers look as good as possible.

"The reason that I choreograph is so that I can see my vision on someone else," Buschmann said.

Each choreographer starts his or her process differently. Meier, who co-choreographed a swing piece and is dancing in Buschmann's hip-hop number, said she starts with the desired result.

"You start with what you want to leave the audience feeling or what mood you're going for and how you want people to be affected," Meier said.

Freedom of expression

Teaching a three-minute dance piece to eight people isn't without its difficulties.

"Everybody learns differently, and you have to accommodate all those different learning styles in one hour," Buschmann said. That can involve taking one dancer aside to teach them a section. Or, in Buschmann's case, doing a little yelling.

"You know my rehearsal won't be boring," she said.

But after all that, spending time with her dancers is what made Buschmann want to choreograph a piece for her second year in a row.

"You definitely can let loose, more than anyone would ever expect you to otherwise," Buschmann said. "Because that's what it is. It's a freedom of expression, a form of expression."

For full article visit | Steamboat Pilot & Today


Steamboat briefs: Dance Theatre seeking sponsors for March show

The Steamboat Dance Theatre is seeking sponsors for the 37th annual March concert. Sponsorships help the nonprofit organization purchase costumes and offset performance costs. Sponsorships start at $250 and could include tickets to the performances, a logo on the concert poster, ads in the program, and/or banners during the concert.

The Steamboat Dance Theatre is a volunteer organization in which about 100 dancers come together to create three performances, at 7 p.m. March 5 to 7 at the Steamboat Springs High School auditorium. For more information about how you can get involved as a sponsor, call Deb Curd at 846-5696.

For full article visit | Steamboat Pilot & Today