“Salto” means “leap” in Italian and is a term not typically prominent in the ballet vocabulary — making it the perfect name for a dance company that goes beyond just ballet. The student-run dance company Salto will wrap up its second year on campus tomorrow with its Spring Show. Its performance will feature self-choreographed works that senior Nursing student and co-president Elizabeth Shea calls “a modern take on ballet and lyrical.”

Salto Dance Company 2nd Annual Spring Show

Tomorrow at 7 p.m.
Mendelssohn Theatre

“(The name ‘Salto’ is) kind of unique, and it really encompassed what we wanted the organization to be,” Shea said.

Shea and co-president Anna Badalian, an LSA junior, founded Salto in the fall of 2009 as an opportunity to bring ballet and lyrical — styles the two were extensively trained in — to campus. Lyrical dance is roughly a cross between ballet and jazz.

Starting with only nine members, the company has grown and developed a greater presence at the University through its fall and spring shows and smaller performances around campus.

The show last semester, which featured selections from Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutracker,” was held in the Union on a floor too slick for pointe work. This year, however, the company will be able to show off its full range of ballet technique on an actual stage in the Mendelssohn Theatre, with one pointe piece set to a Lady Gaga medley.

Other dances include a piece to a mix of the Temptations and Led Zeppelin as well as some duets and trios that more prominently showcase the individual dancers.

All of the dances are self-choreographed by the members of Salto — not as daunting of a task as it may seem due to their extensive dance backgrounds.

“I choreographed a lot in high school and have been choreographing my own solos since I was 14 years old,” Shea said.

She also choreographed a large amount for her high school dance team, and pointed out many of Salto’s members have similar levels of experience — though knowledge of choreography is not a requirement.

“We really welcome everyone’s input and creativity, and we always get really excited to see someone who hasn’t choreographed before make up a dance,” Shea said.

For Shea, the larger challenge comes with the administrative work necessary to keep the company running and maintain its growing presence around campus. Holding auditions, finding rehearsal space and scheduling performances had not previously been her responsibility.

“It’s definitely a big challenge for us because it’s a different side of dance that we haven’t seen before, being students of dance teachers,” she said.

While the “contemporary” style of dance continues to blur the line more and more between ballet and lyrical, Salto aims to strike a balance between remaining true to the traditional styles and maintaining a creative repertoire.

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