BLUEBERRY dance festival

MARQUETTE – A popular dancer from a hit television competition will be part of the sixth annual Blueberry Festival Dance Festival, which begins Sunday and continues until Friday in Marquette.

Kent Boyd, a fan favorite who was runner-up in season seven of Fox’s “So You Think You Can Dance” television show, will be teaching contemporary jazz master classes Wednesday as part of the festival as well as taking part in an evening performance Thursday.

The master classes, which take place Sunday through Wednesday, require advance registration.

But the festival has some other elements that engage the public in general, said Camilla Mingay, festival director.

“We started the festival for several reasons,” Mingay said. “The first was to get more people downtown. But also, with the economy going down and with the price of gas, people were not able to travel to Dance Olympus to take classes. So we thought ‘why not hold something in Marquette?’ So that’s what we did.

“We’re offering a day of free dance workshops with local instructors volunteering to teach them,” she said. “In these free workshops, your ability and your age don’t matter. It’s a chance to test things out, to see if you like that style of dance. If you do, you can enroll in dance classes come fall.

“And if you’re already a dancer, the workshops give you a chance to try something different, like hip-hop or Zumba.”

Boyd, who has acted in television programs including “Bunheads” and “Shake It Up,” was part of a tour with other “So You Think You Can Dance” favorites and continues to appear at workshops around the country.

He will be part of Thursday night’s Dance Performance Showcase at Kaufman Auditorium starting at 7:30 p.m. Also featured will be fellow festival instructor Angela Caporiccio, who has taught, performed and choreographed dance around the country. She is currently the dance director of Iona Catholic Secondary School Regional Arts Program in Ontario.

The showcase will feature the winners of that morning’s dance competitions as well as several local dance professionals.

Advance tickets are available for $6 for youth/student, $8 for seniors and $11 adults. Advance tickets are being sold at The Second Skin Shop, with payment in cash or check made out to Kaufman Auditorium. Money raised goes toward the community production of The Nutcracker Ballet, which is also presented by Kaufman Auditorium and Second Skin Shop.

Tickets are available at the door for an additional $3.

Thursday’s competition starts at 10 a.m. at Kaufman Auditorium and is free to the public.

Also free will be Friday’s dance workshops. See the sidebar story for details on those.

Others teaching dance classes, which require preregistration and fees, are: Liza Hunter, Aerial Fabric Masters on Sunday; Vanessa McCoy, Tumbling Masters on Monday; Caporiccio, Contemporary Masters on Tuesday; and Boyd’s classes on Wednesday.

For more information on the dance festival, call The Second Skin Shop at 226-2263 or Kaufman Auditorium at 225-4213.

Renee Prusi can be contacted at 906-228-2500, ext. 253. Her email address is rprusi@miningjournal.net.