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Concord City Auditorium filled with dance and song this weekend

Chloe Culberson and Nora Breton from Turning Pointe dance to Raise Your Glass

Chloe Culberson and Nora Breton from Turning Pointe dance to Raise Your Glass

The Concord City Auditorium plays host to both raucous high kicks and joyous vocal performances this weekend.

Kicking off the festivities Saturday will be “The Rhythm of the Night” dance concert, which features 145 of the area’s top dancers from six studios. This is the 23rd annual dance extravaganza, showcasing styles that range from lyrical to contemporary, tap to hip-hop.

“I think probably three-quarters of the audience are parents,” said David Murdo, the Audi Concert Manager and producer for “Rhythm of the Night.” “But we do have some who come out just because they like to see all the dance schools dancing together.”

Capping the weekend Sunday will be an afternoon performance of the award-winning Dartmouth College Gospel Choir, singing in honor of the Martin Luther King Holiday weekend. This is the first large-scale gospel concert at the Audi in decades, officials said.

But first, the dance.

This year, audiences will get to see 22 acts, including tap, hip-hop, ballet, jazz, lyric and special production numbers. Among those performances will be a lyrical piece to the song “Same Love” by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis.

“I didn’t see it as risky,” said Lisa Drouin Goff, owner of the Turning Pointe Center of Dance in Pembroke, whose dancers will perform the piece. “I saw it more as brave.”

She said she thought the song, which advocates equality for gay men and women, was important and something her dancers could bring to life on the stage. At the opposite end of the spectrum, Goff, who is also the performance director for the concert, will have her 7- and 8-year-old dancers kicking up their tootsies to Pink’s amped up anthem, “Raise your Glass.”

“There’s no hidden meaning there,” she said with a laugh. “That one is just a fun, lively dance number.”

Other performers will include Capital City Dance Center, directed by Pam “PJ” White; Concord Dance Academy, directed by Cindy Flanagan; Dancesteps Etc. of Epsom, directed by Joan Kelly; Gen’s Dance Studio, directed by Gen Woodward; and New Hampshire School of Ballet of Hooksett, directed by Jennifer Rienert.

Murdo said the night will also include non-dance performances that highlight Concord’s reputation as a dancing town. The auditorium has held these sorts of community dance shows and featured well over 2,500 top area dancers in the last 22 years alone. Further, he said, the dance concerts helped raise money for upgrades and improvements over the years.

As for the gospel concert, audiences can look forward to music ranging from spirituals to contemporary hits, including many non-traditional, innovative surprises, officials said. For the past 10 years, the choir has been led by artistic director Walt Cunningham, out of Chicago, who presented the choir’s performances at President Obama’s first inaugural breakfast and on tours including a just-completed series of holiday concerts in New York.

“The Rhythm of the Night” dance concert will be Saturday and begins at 7 p.m. Tickets are $6. The show will last 90 minutes with an intermission and is suitable for all ages.

The gospel concert will be Sunday at 3 p.m. Tickets are $18.

Tickets for both shows are available at The UPS Store and Gibson’s Bookstore – both on South Main Street in Concord – and at the door. The Concord City Auditorium id located at 2 Prince St. For reservations and information, contact David Murdo at 344-4747 or via email at nhdm40@comcast.net.

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