IF YOU GO

What: Hercules

When: 6 p.m. Friday and 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Saturday

Where: San Juan College's Henderson Fine Arts Theater, 4601 College Blvd., Farmington

Tickets: $10 regular. $8 students and seniors. Available at San Juan College box office.

More info: Call Mann Dance Academy at 505-564-3845

Farmington — From muses to gods, the Henderson Performance Hall will be filled with characters from Greek mythology this weekend.

Kyle Grinnan as Hercules dances during a dress rehearsal for Mann Dance Academy Inc. production of Hercules at the Henderson Fine Arts Center on Wednesday,
Kyle Grinnan as Hercules dances during a dress rehearsal for Mann Dance Academy Inc. production of Hercules at the Henderson Fine Arts Center on Wednesday, June 5, 2013. (Jon Austria/The Daily Times )

Mann Dance Academy is hosting its 17th annual spring dance recital starting Friday night. The show features approximately 300 dancers ranging in age from 3 to 20. This year, the academy will present the story of Greek god Hercules.

Becky Mann-Retherford, the academy's co-owner, described the show as a comedy with a lot of contemporary elements added to the traditional ballet.

The students at the academy start young, and many of them keep dancing throughout high school.

Jessica Wright, 18, will be playing Hades in this weekend's performance. She started dancing when she was 4 years old, but she later had to stop dancing because of health reasons.

After taking two years off, Wright returned this year. She said one of the reasons she returned was the family-feel at the academy. She grew up dancing with the same girls she is currently dancing with, including Alicia Meador, 17.

Both Meador and Wright use dance as a form of release after stressful days.

"Dancing has become an escape from reality," Wright said.

Meador agreed.

Jessica Wright plays Hades in the Mann Dance Academy Inc., production of Hercules during a dress rehearsal at the Henderson Fine Arts Center on Wednesday,
Jessica Wright plays Hades in the Mann Dance Academy Inc., production of Hercules during a dress rehearsal at the Henderson Fine Arts Center on Wednesday, June 5, 2013. (Jon Austria/The Daily Times )

"It's a way to release the day's aggravation," she said.

Meador said her favorite part about dancing with the academy is seeing the younger dancers during their first performances.

"They're very in awe of everything," Meador said.

When she started, Meador admitted that she was the child who always told the other children they were doing it all wrong.

Now as a dance instructor herself, Meador gets the opportunity to teach other children how to dance. She said her favorite part about teaching the children is listening to what they say. One moment they'll be talking about their dog, and the next, they'll tell her about their family or their stomachache.

"It cracks me up how they jump about from subject to subject," Meador said.

Mann-Retherford said this year's performance includes children of former students.

"Our babies started at age 3," Mann-Retherford said.

These younger children only perform in one dance, while the older children all have at least two dances. Still, the younger children tend to be a crowd favorite.

"They usually steal the show," she added.

One of the songs will be dedicated to a former dancer, Maggie Dingwall, who died in December 2012.

"She's with us this year on stage," Mann-Retherford said.

During competition earlier this year, the dance team also dedicated a song to Dingwall. This song, "Support and Sour," earned the team the Most Memorable Dance trophy.

"You could see the dancers emotional content come out," Mann-Retherford said.

Hannah Grover covers arts and religion for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 and hgrover@daily-times.com. Follow her on Twitter @hmgrover.