San Juan College Big Band partners with dance troupes for weekend performance

Students from Mann Dance Academy, AnnMarie Dance Studio taking part

Mike Easterling
Farmington Daily Times
  • The performance will take place at 7 p.m. Friday, March 25 in the Henderson Fine Arts Center Performance Hall on the San Juan College campus.
  • Tickets are $8 for adults, and $6 for students and seniors.
  • They can be purchased in advance at the San Juan College bookstore or at the door.

FARMINGTON — Even though the San Juan College Big Band will be quite a few players shy of its normal complement of 18 to 22 musicians when it performs its spring semester concert this week, the stage won't be any less crowded.

That's because dancers from the Mann Dance Academy and AnnMarie Dance Studio will be joining the band for the performance.

"We really are looking forward to it," Judy Mann of the Mann Dance Academy said. "It's so nice that (San Juan College adjunct professor) Delbert Anderson has invited us to participate. The whole live music thing adds to the excitement of the performance and makes it more thrilling for the dancers and musicians and, for sure, the audience."

Dancers from the two companies will perform to a variety of jazz standards, including "Minnie the Moocher," "Take the A Train," "Sing, Sing, Sing," "Jump, Jive an' Wail," "Harlem Nocturne" and "It Don't Mean a Thing." Anderson will be leading the San Juan College Big Band during the concert, a group that is made up of students and community members.

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Delbert Anderson will lead the San Juan College Big Band in a performance with members of the Mann Dance Academy and AnnMarie Dance Studio this weekend at the college.

"We never really did anything like this before," Anderson said of the collaboration with the local dance companies, adding that he is looking forward to the experience. "I thought it would be really cool to have the dance students involved with the performance."

But that collaboration and the brief amount of time the groups will have to rehearse together will make pulling off the performance a challenge, he said. Anderson also noted that the Big Band is down to only 13 members because of the pandemic and other reasons, so each of his musicians will need to carry a significant load, he said.

Even so, Anderson said having dancers on stage will add an interesting twist to the concert, and he is expecting the experience to be an enjoyable one for his musicians.

"I think everyone is looking to have fun rather than trying to make every single detail perfect," he said.

Mann said her dancers, who will perform in groups of eight to 10 members, will perform a variety of styles — tap, lyrical and swing. Her academy's choreographers have designed the choreography for the pieces, with Andrea Ericksen doing the lyrical piece, Daija Heaton designing the swing piece and Mann herself doing the tap number.

Mann also said it will be fun for her company to be featured during the same show as dancers from the AnnMarie Dance Studio, although the two troupes will not perform together.

"Just being in the same show and the camaraderie will be nice," she said.

Mann said she hopes the performance turns out well enough so that it becomes more than a one-off event.

"I can definitely see us doing more of this in the future," she said.

The performance will take place at 7 p.m. Friday, March 25, in the Henderson Fine Arts Center Performance Hall on the San Juan College campus, 4601 College Blvd. in Farmington. Tickets are $8 for adults, and $6 for students and seniors. They can be purchased in advance at the San Juan College bookstore or at the door. Children younger than 12 and San Juan College employees with a college ID are admitted free. Call 505-566-3386.

Mike Easterling can be reached at 505-564-4610. Support local journalism with a digital subscription: http://bit.ly/2I6TU0e.