‘Looking Up’ is a dance show and attitude

Karen DeRoss
Siskiyou Dance Company’s ballet troupe is one of the many groups that will perform under the direction of Tana Macy June 4 and 5 in College of the Siskiyous’ Kenneth Ford Theater in Weed. Dancers are Elizabeth DeRoss, Emily DeRoss, Taylor Nichols, Sequoia Wagner and Aimee Langston.

Dancers of all ages from throughout the county will lift spirits and direct attention upward at College of the Siskiyous’ Kenneth Ford Theater in Weed.

Siskiyou Dance Company will culminate the year of dance with its 27th annual performance, “Looking Up,” on June 4 and 5 at 7 p.m.

Inspiration for the theme was born from last year’s production surrounding all things growing and earthy, said dance teacher and Siskiyou Dance Company director Tana Macy. Building from that, this year she wants to emphasize that up is a better way to be.

“It’s about looking up in our attitude and not getting bogged down,” and dance is a fitting instrument to convey that idea, said Macy. “Dancing lifts you up and takes you out of the moment,” she said. Once the idea was hatched, the more her thoughts seemed to emphasize the theme. Stars, planets and clouds complement and inspire dance, said Macy. “Clouds dance in the sky,” she said.

Much of the performance incorporates characters and stories from the latest Pixar movie, “Up,” which effectively coincides with the message of the performance. Macy is featured as Carl from “Up,” as he remembers his late wife Ellie, portrayed by Leslie Monton, a visiting dancer from Santa Rosa who is Macy’s friend of 40 years.

Ellie comes back as a memory in spirit form to dance with Carl. As Carl’s memory goes deeper, he envisions Ellie in her beautiful youth.

Elizabeth DeRoss, 17, performs the dance of the young Ellie, spotlighting her own original choreography.

Mason Mello plays Russell, the young Boy Scout from “Up.” He narrates throughout the performance, speculating about things in the sky from the perspective of a curious boy on a camping trip and sings “I’m Lookin’ Up,” an original song with lyrics by Macy and music by Steve Hart.

The focus weaves from rainbows to raindrops, stars to planets, from extraterrestrials to astronauts.

Advanced hip-hop dancer Christian DeLeon, 16, of Dunsmuir showcases his choreography skills in a dance of aliens. “It’s really cool choreography, he’s done a great job,” said Macy.

The performance incorporates a wide array of ideas, displaying Macy’s creative ability to pull together the music, costume selection, script writing, choreography and overall creation of the show, right down to the poster art, all under the umbrella of this year’s theme.

“It’s all in my head,” said Macy.

Dancers will represent the “Looking Up” theme, portraying characters such as fireflies, jazz cats on a full moon night, raindrops and snowflakes. The dancers range from age 3 to adult, performing styles from ballet to hip hop to creative movement. The music spans eras from 1400 year-old Japanese wind ensembles to Rosemary Clooney to modern Owl City, encompassing a wide variety of genres. There’s even a dance with no music, featuring tap dancers in silhouette moving to the sounds of weather. 

The process of moving it from Macy’s imagination to the ultimate stage creation does not happen single-handedly.

“We’re like a big family here,” Macy said of the Siskiyou Dance Company.

She said she enjoyed working with her husband Mike during all the previous performances, when he was the backstage manager. However, “he’s hanging up his stage hat this year,” she said.

Other dance teachers take part in the choreography and creativity as well. Patc Dawson, a tap teacher with Siskiyou Dance Company, said the highlight of her life is dancing.

Tickets for the show are $12 and are available in advance at The Weed Store and Village Books in Mount Shasta. A school performance scheduled for June 4 begins at 9:30 a.m. School groups who wish to reserve seating should call 859-1852.

Christian DeLeon, Collin Cool and Osten Cummins are the hip hop dancers in Siskiyou Dance Company's "Looking Up" performance, scheduled for June 4 and 5 in College of the Siskiyous' Kenneth Ford Theater in Weed.