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RHS Modern Dance Company brings game night to life

The Modern Dance Company will perform board game-themed show on Friday.

No one is likely to accuse Rosemount High School's Modern Company of thinking small. The advanced student dance troupe has made a habit over the years of taking on ambitious projects.

Consider, for example, the year students went skydiving to help them prepare. Or the wall of television monitors from a couple of years ago. Or shows built around the seven deadly sins or the abstract concept of Dadaism.

By comparison, this year's board game-themed show might seem tame. But tame isn't really this group's style.

That's how they end up with a Connect Four-themed piece that features dancers, dressed in black and red, I'm front of a wall-size version of the game's familiar yellow grid. Or a Mousetrap piece that gradually adds pieces from a dancer on rollerblades to a tape measure to a shopping cart.

The show as a whole features so many props -- movable walls and bouncing balls and a version of the popping bubble from the game Trouble -- that dance teacher Christina Morris was worried for a while there wouldn't be room for them all.

"I kind of have crazy ideas," Morris said.

Morris called this year's show a step in the opposite direction from last year's more serious Dada show.

"Last year's show was so serious and intellectual and philosophical that I wanted something that would be lighter and more whimsy and fun," Morris said.

It turns out, whimsy takes a lot of work. Modern Company members have been working on this show since October. The 17 dancers, nine seniors and eight underclassmen, will perform nine pieces inspired by games including Twister, Jenga and Chutes and Ladders. Some of those translate more readily than others to dance.

"Clue is more of a performance piece," Morris said. "Each piece kind of has its own identity."

Those identities can change rapidly, too. Pieces are open to change pretty much until the curtain goes up on the performance. Morris said she's never been afraid to make dramatic changes, and she knows she has dancers who can make those changes work.

"My kids are definitely not afraid of working right up to the show," Morris said. "If I find something I think would be awesome, I'm not afraid to redo the show."

In recent years the Modern Company's show has become a fundraiser. This year's show will raise money for Cheerful Givers, a group that donates birthday gifts to food shelves and shelters. It's a cause Morris believes fits well with the show's board game theme.

The show will be on stage at 7 p.m. Friday, May 18 at the RHS Performing Arts Center.