Dance moves ‘Beyond’ campus, into downtown

Dana Nicolay, professor of dance and former associate dean of the college of arts and sciences, is taking dance outside the boundaries of campus in his latest production: “Beyond!”

Nicolay said each piece in “Beyond!” hopes to take viewers outside of their lives and into the world of dreams.

“The title ‘Beyond!’ comes from the nature of the works on the program,” Nicolay said. “All of them in one way or another take the viewer ‘beyond’ the world of everyday life to look at the nature of dreams, faith, identity, relationships and adventure.”

Each performed is inspired by a feeling or real event in Nicolay’s life. All are unique in what they are trying to convey to the audience, though tied together through the theme of going “beyond.”

“‘Early Retirement’ is a dance about my father and the sacrifices he made to live up to his responsibilities in life,” Nicolay said. “It is performed to a script I wrote, which is recited by the dancer as he performs. ‘Facets of the Dreamer’ is a pointe ballet that explores different aspects of a young woman’s personality.”

By having the performance at the Old Town Theatre, Nicolay hopes to encourage those outside of the SHSU community to attend.

“Having lived in Huntsville nearly thirty years, I know that there are quite a few people in town who find the campus to be a little foreign and somewhat intimidating,” Nicolay said. “I am hoping that reaching out to the community with a cultural event such as this will help bridge the gap and let more people know what a wonderful creative community exists here at Sam. Maybe it will encourage more people to venture to campus to enjoy all of the beautiful visual and performing art that is available to them.”

With the performance venue of the Old Town Theatre, Nicolay believes the event will have a greater affect among members of the Huntsville community.

“In my opinion, art serves a social purpose,” Nicolay said. “Not everyone has the talent or interest in the arts to become an artist themselves, but at its best, artwork speaks to the common experiences that all of us share.”

During Nicolay’s tenure as associate dean of the college of arts and sciences, he also served as a chair of the design and development committee for the Gaertner Performing Arts Center. He said his time in those positions left him feeling detached from the performing world.

“During that time, I was unable to be active as an artist, so I kind of faded from the dance scene,” Nicolay said. “Now that I’m back in the studio full time, my company, Nicolay Dance Works, has become my way of re-entering the dance community. We’ve been presenting work around the state for the past couple of years and ‘Beyond!’ is our current production.”

Nicolay Dance Works will perform “Beyond!” at the Old Town Theatre in Downtown Huntsville on Saturday at 8 p.m.

Tickets are available for $10 for advanced purchase at

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