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A celebration of strong women

The Rosemount High School Modern Company will hold its annual dance show Friday night at RHS. This year's show is inspired by women throughout history.

Dorthea Lange took photos during the Depression. Deborah Samson hid her gender to fight in the Revolutionary War. Gertrude Stein and Emily Dickenson wrote groundbreaking works of literature.

On the surface there is little to bind these women together beyond their gender, but each in her way served as inspiration for the students in Rosemount High School's Modern Company. And each will be paid tribute in a Friday night dance performance meant to celebrate the strength of those women and others like them.

The theme for this year's show, called Strength, came about naturally. For the first time in more than half a decade, the RHS Modern Company is made up entirely of girls.

"When we were trying to find a show that we could kind of embrace, we said, we haven't been an all-female company in many years," dance teacher Christina Morris said. "We decided to do a female-inspired show. We just had a lot of discussions about females we'd like to create pieces about or what they symbolized to us."

Morris choreographed the piece about Lange, best known for the photos she took for the Farm Security Administration. Most of the remaining pieces were choreographed by students or former students. Each tries to get at the core of what makes each woman remarkable.

That means different things for different pieces. The Lange piece features dancers in period-appropriate costumes performing while Lange's photos are projected on the backdrop. The piece inspired by Stein plays with the author's use of repetition in her work.

"Each piece kind of has its own identity, and that's what I liked about it," Morris said. "Other than them all being women, there's not a common thread of era.... They're all women who have accomplished something, said something, wrote something, created something that we found inspiring and wanted to talk about through dance."

Dancers were still working on getting props into place Monday night. Morris said the one-hour show has come together well.

As with all of the Modern Company's performances, this week's show is a fundraiser. Money collected at the show will go to Dakota Woodlands, an Eagan shelter for homeless women and families.

The Modern Company will perform Strength at 7 p.m. Friday at the RHS Performing Arts Center.