Celebrated Springfield dance instructor to be remembered with concert

It has been nearly two years since celebrated local dance instructor Gary Geis passed away. But as long as there’s a stage, his spirit will likely never be far away.

The Gary Geis Dance Company’s “Transformation: A Legacy Dance Concert” will bring ballet, modern, tap, jazz and hip-hop choreographed by Geis’s staff and students he mentored to the John Legend Theater at 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 2 and Saturday, Feb. 3.

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After a successful tribute concert a year ago, staff from the Gary Geis School of Dance decided an annual themed concert would honor the teacher’s legacy and be a tribute to his abilities.

“Transformation was our inspiration and came from Gary’s ability to evolve and transform as a dancer,” said co-artistic director and school proprietor Mark Cummings. “We are also in the process of restoring dances that Gary created to build upon our already strong repertoire. It is such a joy to continue teaching his choreography to new generations of dancers while creating new works for all of us.”

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Cummings said it’s important to provide every generation of Geis dancers the opportunity to perform in a variety of venues. Legacy concerts give the dancers and audience the experience of concert-length dances designed and created specifically for the stage.

Cummings and fellow artistic director Lori Common said the challenge of continuing Geis’s work has been monumental.

“The true test of any school and company is how to continue its journey forward once it has lost the voice of its founder, especially one of such immense talent and boundless energy,” he said. “There will never be another Gary Geis.

“Gary was the driving force in so many aspects of the school, but fortunately, we have an incredible staff who have also been integral in training our dancers and intimately involved in the company’s mission of building and training dancers and our alumni throughout the country.”

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The future is also shaping up for the company — such as collaborating with the Springfield Symphony Orchestra, expanding its in-studio concert series and sponsoring dance workshops featuring alumni from around the United States.

“We are now flying on our own, but it is Gary’s love and inspiration that taught us all how to fly,” Cummings said.


What: Transformation: A Legacy Dance Concert

Where: John Legend Theater at The Dome, 700 S. Limestone St., Springfield

When: Friday, Feb. 2 and Saturday, Feb. 3, 8 p.m.

Admission: $15 general admission at the door or https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/cal/34900/1517461200000.

More info: www.garygeisdance.org

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