Every February, Northern Plains Dance treats North Dakota audiences to an original and stunning production at the historic Belle Mehus Auditorium downtown Bismarck. Dance+ merges a range of art forms – dance, music, choreography and visual arts – onto a single stage, where performers communicate the raw complexity of human emotion through movement.

While the caliber of Dance+ programming is more common in large metropolitan areas, it is relatively rare in smaller communities like Bismarck and Mandan. In an age when much of our entertainment is quick, easy and even lonely, the appeal of live and communal performances is greater than ever.

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Northern Plains Dance’s advanced students work with choreographers from around the United States to stage original works. Each choreographer is paired with a local artist to create artwork to serve as the backdrop for their dance piece. Dance+ is a challenge for the students, and a celebration of collaborative arts.

This highly acclaimed annual production features 30 dancers from Bismarck/Mandan, ranging in age from 11-18. Now in its 13th year, Dance+ is a staple of the Bismarck arts community. Over the years, the event has featured 25 local visual artists, 38 musicians, and 19 guest choreographers, many of whom have participated for several years.

Nadine DeLoughy from Newtown, Connecticut, travelled to Bismarck in October to create her piece, titled, “Collideoscope,” set to music by Pink Floyd. Nadine’s inspiration comes from recent events both home and abroad and her desire to bring people together, despite their differences. Nadine worked with local visual artist, Dawn Kopp, to create an original piece of artwork to be used as a backdrop for the dance. Nadine also collaborated on Dance+ in 2019 and her piece “Run” was an audience favorite.

Paul Gilliam from Dayton, Ohio was in Bismarck in November to create his piece, titled, “Estranged Ego.” His inspiration came from the inner workings of the human mind and the struggle to stay positive. Paul is working with local artist Becca Cruger to create an original backdrop for the dance.

A third guest choreographer, Noëlle Davé, from New York, NY, will work with the students in January. Northern Plains Dance faculty members also create original pieces for the performance.

Dance+ is presented with the mission to bring the Bismarck community together and celebrate dance and the performing arts. A testament to the success of this mission is captured in the words of a past audience member: “It’s the one show that I make sure to attend each year, for almost ten years now. It is simply stunning and very moving. You must go.”

Dance+ will be held on Friday, February 28 at 7:30pm, and Saturday, February 29 at 2:30 and 7:30pm at the Belle Mehus Auditorium in Bismarck. Tickets are available online at https://www.northernplainsdance.org/tickets.

Northern Plains Dance, a North Dakota cultural treasure, is renowned for producing professional-quality productions and unforgettable experiences for Bismarck/Mandan and beyond. The organization’s programs benefit more than 20,000 people each year. As a nonprofit with an impressive record of success, it is Northern Plains Dance’s mission to inspire the appreciation of dance through artistic excellence and to enrich the cultural landscape of the community. It performs a vital role, providing exceptional and diverse performances, high quality educational programs, and outreach to inspire and enrich the community. Sponsored by North Dakota Council on the Arts and Dakota West Arts Council, Dance+ is a highlight of the Bismarck-Mandan arts scene.