The multi-generational dance company, which was founded in 1992 by friends Debra Smith and Sara Bogard, uses both Smith’s and Bogard’s contacts in the dance community to bring in top choreographers from around the nation and sometimes the world.
“It gives the dancers a real sense of accomplishment when they can perform at the caliber that these choreographers request of them,” Smith said.
Both women studied dance in college: Smith at the University of California Irvine and Bogard at the University of Utah. Bogard was not originally excited about Smith’s idea to start a dance company in Reno but eventually she agreed.
“I couldn’t have done it without Sara,” Smith said with a smile. “I am the words and fingers person and she is the technical and production person.”
Bogard’s theater experience is being put to good use, not only by Wing and a Prayer, but also by Spanish Springs High School where she teaches in the theater department.
Friday night’s performance by the dance troupe will be supplemented by performances from Bogard’s high school students, while Saturday’s performance will feature just dancers from Wing and a Prayer.
“We’ll have two acts and the show will be about an hour and a half long,” said Nicole da Roza, who has been dancing with Wing and a Prayer for a year.
After participating on the color guard, winter guard and dance teams in high school, da Roza, now a Truckee Meadows Community College student, joined the dance company to continue expressing herself.
“I honestly think dance is the best way to communicate in motion,” da Roza said. “There is just something about dancing; it’s open to interpretation.”
While dancers may join Wing and a Prayer as a creative outlet, it’s not just a casual endeavor. In preparation for Flights on Foot 2008, the troupe started practicing last May to master the choreography they will showcase.
“We’re here two days a week, three hours a day and sometimes more,” Lindsey Christensen said.
The troupe’s hard work has paid off as their performance looks polished and well put together. The troupe incorporates a range of pieces like the sexually charged “Even Adam,” choreographed by Jennie Pitts, and the more interpretive “Aureate Debris,” choreographed by Cari Cunningham. In this piece, the dancers wear hiking headlights and perform in total darkness.
Still, for company member Scooby Meredith the dance troupe is an outlet for his choreography. Meredith choreographed a piece entitled “My Scrubs Dance” for this weekend’s show.
“I am a big fan of the TV show ‘Scrubs,’ ” Meredith said. “I really just wanted to choreograph a piece that paid homage to the fun and creativity that goes along with that show. I felt ‘My Scrubs Dance’ meets that desire.”
Meredith and five other dancers begin the piece by lying on the ground and contorting themselves into letters to spell out the word “scrubs.” As the dance progresses to a soft soundtrack, the dancers morph gracefully from pose to pose to convey Meredith’s vision.
“I really love choreographing, almost as much as dancing,” Meredith said. “Wing and a Prayer is comprised of so many strong dancers who are a lot of fun to work with.”
While the company practiced into the early evening hours last week, Smith looked on proudly.
“It is so beautiful,” Smith said with a loving sigh. “Our dancers have evolved their technique and performance quality, it is so magnificent.”
Flights on Foot 2008 will be performed at the Nell J. Redfield Theater in Keystone Square Friday at 7 p.m. and Saturday at 2 p.m. Admission is $7, $5 for students and seniors and children under 12 are free. For tickets call 323-0766.
For more information about the dance troupe and audition information, visit wnpdance.org.