Dancers hark back, look forward with THT performance

MIDDLEBURY — Back in 1978 what is now Middlebury’s Town Hall Theater was the local Knights of Columbus Hall. Karen Amirault, a dancer and recent graduate of Middlebury College, joined forces with college dance faculty Patty Smith to rent the hall for their eclectic dance reviews.
Middlebury was a different town back then and local artists grabbed any space they could find to hold their informal displays. When it wasn’t the “Knights” it was the Grange next door, where both Amirault and Smith taught dance classes for the mostly young adult local residents (before the marriages, before the babies … now grown with babies of their own).
Under the care of Jim Lienau, Bob Wolk, Tom Learmouth, and later Ron Meck; the Grange flowered into an incredible coffee-house scene hosting well known folk acts, such as Margaret MacArthur and Feast or Famine. There were poetry readings on the nearby Middlebury green.
Today things are less funky but perhaps more functional. Amirault and Smith found their work away and back again to what they liked to dream was Shakespeare’s London right here in bounteous Vermont. The two dancers have continued to perform together and on Wednesday, May 8, they will take the stage once more at Middlebury’s newer Town Hall Theater.
Sharing the bill with them is Vermont dance treasure Shelley Ismail, who has taught them both. Dedicated students of all three dancers will also perform. They call themselves: Standard Poodle Dance Collective.
The show starts at 7 p.m. To purchase tickets — $15 for adults, $10 for children — call 802-382-9222, visit the THT box office, or of buy them at the door.
Editor’s note: This story was provided by Patty Smith.

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