Uncsa’s Winter Dance opens at the Stevens Center, and John Wayne lives again!

by Mark Burger

Dan Hornak as John Wayne (courtesy photo)

The School of Dance at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts will present its annual showcase, Winter Dance, opening Feb. 17 at the Stevens Center (405 W. 4th St., Winston- Salem).

The centerpiece of the presentation will be a world premiere dance, as choreographed by faculty member Diego Schoch. According to Schoch, the dance emphasizes the themes of community, heritage and spiritualism. It features music by Los Lobos and School of Dance accompanists Eric Schwartz and John Wilson.

“Inherent in its structure and the process of its creation is the notion of hybridism or blending,” said Schoch in an official statement. “The dance is a result of a desire to integrate Latino themes into my work and a research trip to five Mayan archeological sites in the Yucatan, Mexico.” (Schoch’s research trip was made possible by a BREATHE Project Faculty Professional Development Grant from the Thomas S. Kenan Institute for the Arts.)

The program will also include George Balanchine’s Symphonie Concertante, which emphasizes the strong relationship between dance and music, and set to a Mozart selection. Symphonie Concertante has been restaged and supervised for UNCSA by Victoria Simon, Ballet Mistress for the George Balanchine Trust.

James Kudelka’s Gazebo Dances is an incisive examination of small-town America as its youthful innocence fades. This selection has been restaged for the production by David Richardson, Artistic Advisor for Lockport City Ballet and former Assistant Artistic Director of American Ballet Theatre. The music for Gazebo Dances was composed by John Corigliano, Academy Award winner for Best Original Score for The Red Violin (1998) and winner of the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for music, for Symphony No. 2 for String Orchestra.

The program will conclude with Alwin Nikolais’ Gallery, which highlights motion through creative use of costumes and black light. Alberto del Saz, Artistic Director of the Murray Louis and Nikolais Dance Company and the co-director of the Nikolais/Louis Foundation for Dance, will be assisted by School of Dance faculty-artist and former company member Dianne Markham in restag ing the piece. Gallery is underscored by a composition by its original choreographer.

Showtimes for Winter Dance are 7:30 p.m.

Thursday,Feb. 17 through Saturday,Feb. 19 and 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 20. Tickets are $12 (adults), $10 (senior citizens and students with valid ID). As this is a limited engagement, reservations are suggested. For reservations or more information, call 336.721.1945 or visit the official UNCSA website: performances.

Inarguably one of the most popular entertainers in history, John Wayne (1907-’79) remains a screen icon and a symbol of the American spirit. He was also a complicated and complex man, known for his right-wing (often controversial) political viewpoints. Very often, the myth overshadowed the man.

This Monday, the Surry Arts Council will present “An Evening with The Duke — The Life and Legend of John Wayne” at the Downtown Cinema Theatre (142 N. Main St., Mount Airy) at 7:30 p.m.

Dan Hornak (AKA Jake Thorne) wrote and stars in this one-man tribute that explores the life and legacy of John Wayne (born Marion Morrison in Iowa), revealing what made “The Duke” not only a huge star but an American institution.

For nearly 40 years, Wayne reigned as one of the top box-office attractions in the nation (and throughout the world). His credits include such classics as Stagecoach (1939), Flying Tigers (1942), Back to Bataan and They Were Expendable (both 1945), Red River and Fort Apache (both 1948), The Quiet Man (1952), The Searchers (1956), Rio Bravo (1959), The Longest Day and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (both 1962) and his final film, The Shootist (1976). He received an Academy Award nomination for Sands of Iwo Jima (1949) and won the Oscar as Best Actor for the original True Grit (1969). They truly don’t make ‘em like John Wayne anymore.

This production encompasses Wayne’s personal and public life from 1938 until 1978, the year before his death. Although many criticized Wayne’s politics, particularly in the 1960s during the Civil Rights era and the Vietnam War, he was nevertheless hailed for his courageous and very public battle against cancer during the later years of his life.

Frank Levering, who assisted Hornak in mounting this production, provides narration between the show’s three acts.

An Evening with The Duke contains strong language. Parental discretion is advised.

Tickets are $12 (reserved seating) and $10 (general admission). For reservations or more information, call 336.786.7998, or e-mail For a complete schedule of upcoming events, you can also check out the official Surry Arts website: