Many beer swilling, hot dog eating dudes and dudettes are under the impression that dance concerts are strictly for the champagne and caviar crowd. Edye Allen has been struggling for years to change that deeply ingrained attitude. It hasn't been easy.
A New Mexico native, Allen worked as a professional dancer and choreographer in Los Angeles for 15 years. During that time, she danced in everything from music videos to films and worked with the likes of Janet Jackson, Elizabeth Taylor and Steve Martin.
Allen returned to Albuquerque in the early '90s to be closer to her family. In 1992, she founded Exposé, a nonprofit dance company designed to provide dance opportunities for ambitious local performers and to expose Albuquerque to a more down-to-earth hybridized style of dance performance.
"It's hard to get people to understand what we're all about until they actually see us," Allen says. "We're not real artsy fartsy. I don't mean to say that in a bad way. (laughs) We're not exactly straight-up rock 'n' roll either. We're somewhere in between."
Exposé presents two shows each year. A new one called Visions will be performed this weekend at the Sandia Prep Theater.
"I have about 20 dancers performing in the show," says Allen. "Several branch out and play live music during the dance concert. We'll be doing about 17 numbers with quick changes, a quick pace. I've got a couple of my best alumni dancers coming back, so there'll be a fairly strong male presence in the show. There'll be some rock 'n' roll, some country, some lyrical music, songs from the '30s, '80s and '90s—Garth Brooks, Madonna, just a whole mish mash."
As always, the focus will be on presenting a high energy concert that mixes different styles. Mixing it up is the main reason Allen started the company in the first place. "I have my own style, and I like to really diversify things. I started the company 14 years ago, because I didn't see too much of this kind of dance around Albuquerque."
If you've never been to a dance concert before, if the thought of ballet makes you bust out in hives, you might want to give Exposé a chance. If you do, Allen promises you a great show. With lighting and sound worthy of a high-end rock 'n' roll show, and dance moves and choreography that are nothing short of mind-boggling, Visions should convert even the most stubborn of skeptics.