Barjché celebrates 70th anniversary


Members of Orchesis I rehearse a dance routine. Contributed photo.

This year marks the 70th time members of Iowa State's Orchesis I Dance Company will perform in Barjché, a modern dance concert started in 1944 by Iowa State students Barbara Sgarlat Drexler, Jean Ringoen Williams and Charlotte Ann Stuart. The name Barjché is a combination of the threesome's first names. This year's theme, "Modern Dance Through the Ages," reflects the modern dance movement from the 1940s to the present.

A total of 37 Iowa State students will perform 13 dances and several historical-moment pieces, such as World War II soldiers returning home in 1945 and the Challenger space shuttle explosion in 1986.  Student-dancers choreographed several pieces for the performance.

"The production also sneaks in short historical moments using choreography inspired by specific iconic historical figures in modern dance," said Cynthia Adams, lecturer in kinesiology and Barjché's artistic director.

Orchesis I will stage three Barjché performances on Feb. 5 and 6 (7:30 p.m.) and Feb. 7 (2 p.m.) in the Iowa State Center's Fisher Theater. Tickets are $12 ($10 for students) and are available through Ticketmaster