By Stacey Sheldon
October 28, 2021--Mendocino College Repertory Dance Company will present its upcoming show, Open Air, November 5th, 6th and 7th at the Ukiah campus. Performance Director Eryn Shon-Brunner says the show's title is fitting, as all of the original pieces of this innovative dance performance will unfold outside in different locations on Mendocino College's Ukiah Campus. The outdoor, roving show allows both the audience and performers to enjoy dance and the beauty of Ukiah’s college campus while adhering to Covid-19 safety protocols. Four pieces, ranging in tone from serious to comical to ritualistic, will be danced in four different locations throughout the grounds. The first piece, called “Ragtime,” will take place in the heart of campus at the Pomo Plaza. College dance instructor and choreographer Kirsten Turner presents this 1960’s ragtime ballet as a nod to the famous 20th century choreographer George Balanchine, regarded as the foremost contemporary choreographer in the world of ballet. The next dance, created by students Ari Sunbeam and Jay Haralson, is called “Raising the Bar” and is set on the steps of the College Library, one of the campus’ most stunning architectural buildings. Sunbeam’s choreography is inspired by his observations of nature, in particular the mating rituals of birds and other animals. Following the silliness of “Raising the Bar” is a ritualistic dance choreographed by Pilates instructor Dena Watson Krast called “Cornucopia.” This piece is set under a beautiful grove of giant oaks adorned with colorfully dyed fabrics created by Mendocino College Costume designer Kathy Dingman-Katz, who oversees all the costume pieces in the show. The combination of natural beauty, costuming and dance make “Cornucopia” a feast for the eyes. The final piece of Open Air, choreographed by Schon-Brunner, is called “In the Round” and is danced in an open, grassy field in the middle of campus. Open Air is a free show, and begins each night at 5:00 pm. The audience is asked to convene in front of the Mendocino’s large theater, called the Center for Visual and Performing Arts.