The University of Central Missouri OVATION Performance Series opens its 2023 season at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 28 with “Swing Into Spring” - a show featuring nationally renowned tap dancers Ana Tomioshi and Gerson Lanza performing with jazz pianist James Fernando.

They will be joined for the performance in Hendricks Hall by musicians from UCM Music featuring interactive and improvisational choreography of African-inspired tap dance and jazz music.

Commenting on the show, Ashley Miller-Scully, chair of UCM Theatre and Dance, noted, “What a wonderful opportunity and experience it is to have professional tap dancers visit our campus, teach master classes to our students, and perform their talents for our university and community. Live tap dancing to live music is such a rare and special event and it’s one not to be missed. I guarantee the audience is going to love it.”
Ana Tomioshi is a Brazilian multi-style performing artist, choreographer and instructor, currently based in Washington D.C.

One of today’s most popular dancers in Brazil, Tomioshi is an alumna of The School at Jacob’s Pillow’s tap program and has performed at The Kennedy Center, São Paulo Municipal Theater, Battery Dance Festival, The Yard and Rock in Rio Music Festival. Ana also dances with Sole Defined Dance Company, directed by Quynn and Ryan Johnson, and is part of the Metropolitan School of the Arts faculty. Most recently, Tomioshi was in the dance film “Rhythm Is Our Business,” a tap dance project commissioned by the Kennedy Center, that celebrated the impact of female master dancers of color while furthering the conversation of the next evolution of tap dance.

Originally from La Ceiba, Honduras, Gerson Lanza is an Afro Honduran tap dancer interested in sharing the African diaspora across Latin America through the lens of percussive dance. His heritage is Garifuna - a mix of African and indigenous Carribean people, whose art is percussive and rhythmic in song and dance. After moving to New York City in 2001 and training at Harlem School of the Arts, he has since taught and performed across the U.S. and internationally including in Brazil, Poland, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Spain.

Highlights include a three-month European tour with the Cotton Club Show, in which he was featured as a soloist, and dancing with Jason Samuels Smith, Josh Johnson, and Leonardo Sandoval, among many others.

In addition to the show, Tomioshi and Lanza will be hosting a master class for advanced tap students at Center Stage Academy and another for UCM Theatre and Dance students.

Admission for the performance is free, and no tickets are required. All performances in the OVATION series are free, and the series benefits from generous support made possible by the Missouri Arts Council and the UCM College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences.

For more information, visit the OVATION Performance Series webpage  or contact Series Director Dr. Mia Kim at 660-543-8900.

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