Dance Center Evanston celebrates 25 years of operation with anniversary performance


Source: Matt Glavin

Béa Rashid founded Dance Center Evanston in 1994. She and her current and former staff will celebrate 25 years of dance on Saturday at Studio5.

Daisy Conant, Assistant Arts and Entertainment Editor

To celebrate 25 years of operation, Dance Center Evanston’s founder and director Béa Rashid (Communication ’78) is inviting the Evanston community to witness a culmination of professionally choreographed modern, ballet, contemporary and tap pieces — or, as Rashid puts it, “a really big birthday party with entertainment.”

The Dance Center Evanston 25th Anniversary Performance will take place Saturday in Studio5, Dance Center Evanston’s new theater. The performance will showcase a series of dances choreographed and performed by professional faculty members and alumni dancers, including Rashid, Emmy Award-winning dancer Glenn Leslie and American National Ballet company member Kara Roseborough.

Rashid founded Dance Center Evanston in 1994, initially teaching around 70 students in a two-room building on Davis Street. Two and a half decades later, the school now has a capacity of around 700 students, offers more than 165 classes a week taught by experienced faculty and operates five studios, including a theater to showcase the work of local artists, she said.

“We’ve had many different teachers who have been here for over 10 or 15 years and some who’ve been there the entire time. We’ve also trained young dancers that have gone on to professional careers in dance,” Rashid said. “This performance is going to be a celebration of 25 years of bringing a dance community to Evanston.”

With a range of dance genres and a combination of both solo and group performances — including a composition featuring all 22 current faculty members — the show will commemorate both the development of the school and the talent of its current and previous staff and alumni, Rashid said.

Calyn Carbery (Communication ’10), Dance Center Evanston’s managing director, noted that the performance is unique in that it is one of the first times that the entire faculty has produced and performed a show together on its home stage.

“We do have a very large faculty and we have had for some time,” Carbery said. “It’s so interesting to see everybody’s different styles, approaches and backgrounds come together to create this really new and interesting piece that at the same time is nostalgic and reminiscent of where we’ve come from and where we’re going to.”

Aside from Rashid and Carbery, the performance also features several other Northwestern alumni, including musician Steve Rashid (Bienen ’83) and Dance Center Evanston program director Allison Volkers (Weinberg ’00).

Volkers said the Northwestern alumni involvement in the 25th Anniversary Performance illustrates the influence NU has had on its alumni as performers and collaborators. She added that Dance Center Evanston is grateful for its university connection, specifically because of the skills NU alumni bring to the table.

“The hallmark of Northwestern artists is that we’re scholarly and are also really collaborative and fascinated by crossing traditional disciplinary lines,” Volker said. “In this particular performance, there are elements of theater that come into play, our creative approaches to choreography — those are skills that we started to build when we were at Northwestern.”

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