News Column

Dancers will share stage for 'SALUTE' to military

May 28, 2014

By Jill Doss-Raines, The Dispatch, Lexington, N.C.

May 28--Most will do it through somber ceremonies, parades or attending concerts with patriotic music. But this Memorial Day season, Lexington City Ballet will offer a new way to pay tribute to service people through "SALUTE," a three-act performance of tap, jazz and ballet.

The ballet company will perform "SALUTE" at 2 p.m.June 14 at the Arts Council Theatre on Coliseum Drive in Winston-Salem. Tickets, which are available at the door, are $16 for students and service people and $19 for all others.

Memorial Day has always been a special time for Rita Taylor, Lexington City Ballet's executive director. Her father served 33 years in the 82nd Airborne. No matter at which Army base the family was stationed, Memorial Day was a huge event.

LCB will have 100 dance students in the performance of whom about 60 are from Davidson County. Joining the dance company students on stage for the performance will be professional dancers from Momix New North Dance Chicago and Winston-Salem Festival Dance Center. It will feature the original choreography of artistic director Gary Taylor, who is Rita Taylor's husband.

"This is not a recital," Rita Taylor explained. '"It is a show."

"SALUTE" is a three-act performance. The first act salutes the dance style and music of the World War II era and includes audience favorites such as "It Don't Mean a Thing" and "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy."

"We go from large ensembles, to couples, to groups of four to six dancers, offering a variety of styles including a great tap number," Gary Taylor said. "No one will be able to sit still during these numbers."

The second act pays tribute to the military and their families -- past, present and future. "Journey of Honor" tells a narrative of three families who have members drafted and how that simple notice can drastically affect and even change their lives.

The third act features military anthems and patriotic marches designed to bring the audience to their feet. Gary Taylor describes this salute as "a grand, uplifting, powerful way to end the show," which will have everyone standing.

"There are so many opportunities this time of year to pay tribute to our servicemen and women," Rita Taylor said. "But you rarely see it done with dance."

This has been a learning experience for the LCB dancers, who are ages 8 to 18.

"I think one of our missions is to take them (dancers) on a different journey with dance," she said. "... They have learned a lot from the music and about the different time periods."

For more information, call the Festival Dance Center office at 724-9977.

Lifestyles Editor Jill Doss-Raines can be reached at 249-3981, ext. 219 or at


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Source: Dispatch, The (Lexington, NC)

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