On the move: Dance in the Annex begins educational partnership with Grand Rapids Ballet

DITA performance at a former SiTE:LAB location during ArtPrize. Photo credit Erin Wilson.

Since 2009, the collective known more commonly as DITA has gained recognition for its classes, performances, and dance-on-film. Master classes once again resume this month, with world-renowned Graham Technique master teacher William Crowley.

By Steve Sucato

While Grand Rapids can boast a lot of things—from Beer City USA to Furniture City to ArtPrize—one thing it isn’t known for is a plethora of professional dance companies and presenting dance, especially when it comes to modern dance. In 2009, the local scene’s leanness provided just the impetus needed for dancer/choreographer Amy Wilson and friends to form Dance in the Annex (DITA), a modern dance collective fostering an appreciation of dance through education and performance opportunities.

Since their formation, DITA has grown to regularly hosted master classes, and produced dance concerts, site-specific works, and dance-on-film works on a project basis.

Wilson says the collective was formed not only to support professional dancers in the area, but also to be a place where adults could take a modern dance class.

“We started once a month on Sundays, opening up classes to anyone over 16,” says Wilson. “Of course when you get a bunch of dancers in a room they inevitably want to start choreographing on each other and performing so things then evolved from there to where we are now.”

DITA’s latest class offering came last October. Wilson attributes this most recent gap in programming to DITA no longer calling the Wealthy Theatre Annex home. But a new partnership with Grand Rapids Ballet to their master classes is something Wilson feels will reenergize the organization as well as the Grand Rapids dance community’s interest in it.

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