Cirque du Soleil performer joins St. George Dance Company, Southwest Symphony for ‘Spooktacular’

Dancer Caine Keenan performs on stage, location and date not specified | Photo by Brian Passey courtesy of St. George Dance Company, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — The St. George Dance Company, a professional modern dance group directed by Summer Belnap Robertson, will collaborate with the Southwest Symphony in the annual “Halloween Spooktacular” performance including a guest solo by Cirque du Soleil dancer Caine Keenan.

Cirque du Soleil artist Caine Keenan | Publicity photo courtesy of Caine Keenan, St. George News

This wickedly fun performance be given at the Dixie State University Cox Center for the Performing Arts, 325 S. 700 East, at 7:30 p.m. It will feature three pieces by the St. George Dance Company set to the musical magic of the symphony.

For this year’s Spooktacular, choreographer Rebekah Wainwright has created a work to “March of the Trolls” from Lyric Suite Op. 54 by Edvard Grieg.

“Many believe that Scattered amongst the woodland creatures of the forest are tiny men. But not just smaller in stature … Trolls, known for their desire to make mischief, can be scarier than one thinks,” Wainwright said about her piece. “Their love of shiny, pretty things can get even the gentlest of creatures into a world of trouble.”

Choreographer Becky Reed, who recently retired as director of dance at Pine View High School, has created a dance to “Funeral March of a Marionette” by Charles-François Gounod.

“Every Halloween in the wee hours of the spookiest of nights, toys and puppets come to life. They are not the innocent objects they may seem. The marionettes are angry because they are held captive by their strings, meanwhile, toys have free rein, often taunting their captive audience,” Reed said. “Let’s see what mischief these marionettes create (this night).”

St. George Dance Company’s third and final piece includes special guest soloist Caine Keenan straight from Cirque du Soleil in Las Vegas.

Robertson and Keenan worked together to create a work that reflects traditional and authentic Transylvanian dance and weaved in a bit of spooky flare to “Dances of Transylvania” by Bela Bartok.

Keenan was born and raised in Wethersfield, Connecticut, he went on to New York City, receiving his Bachelor of Fine Arts from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. After graduating cum laude and earning the honor of the J.S. Seidman Award for Outstanding Dance Senior Keenan went on to dance with master choreographer Alwin Nikolais as a part of the Nikolais Celebration Tour. His associations with the Nikolais work led to a full-time artist position in Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company in Salt Lake City. From performances,to choreography to master classes, Keenan brought his passion for the art of dance with him everywhere. He moved to Las Vegas to chase his childhood fascination of dancing with Cirque du Soleil and now performs as a featured artist in “Mystere” at Treasure Island.

Conductor Lucas Darger will also lead the symphony in playing a very exciting line up, concluding with selections from “Phantom of the Opera.”

New to the Spooktacular this year there will be a costume contest from 6-7 p.m. in the Cox lobby with cash prizes for youth, 3-17, and adults, 18 and older. Family-friendly costumes only. No masks. Winners will be announced from the stage at the end of the concert. Contestants must be present to win.

Tickets for Halloween Spooktacular are $5 for students and $12-$24 for adults depending on seat location. Tickets are available for purchase online or by calling the DSU box office at telephone 435-652-7800.

Event details

  • What: Southwest Symphony “Halloween Spooktacular” featuring the St. George Dance Company. Pre-show provided by the Desert Hills High School Orchestra.
  • When: Friday, October 27, 7:30 p.m.
  • Where: DSU Cox Center for the Performing Arts, 325 S. University Avenue (700 East), St. George.
  • Cost: Students: $5; adults, $12, $18 or $24 | Purchase online or by calling the DSU box office at telephone 435-652-7800.

Email: news@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

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