Inside Out Dance Ensemble returns to the MCCC stage

After a two-year hiatus caused by the pandemic, the Inside Out Dance Ensemble is back on stage.

The Monroe County Community College-based dance company will perform “Access” at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday at the Meyer Theater, La-Z-Boy Center at MCCC, 1555 S. Raisinville Rd.

General admission tickets are $12 each. The seats are limited. Masks are currently optional, but recommended. For tickets, visit

While IODE has performed to small audiences and virtually during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, “Access” is the company’s first live performance since 2019.


“Our ‘Scrapbook’ concert commemorating our 10th anniversary as an organized ensemble has been discontinued in 2020,” said IODE Director Kellie Lajiness.

The spring performance was also canceled in 2021. This year’s program expresses relief at the return to normal.

“We kept saying to ourselves (during the lockdowns), ‘if only we had access to the studio’. If only we could have access to the stage. Since the word ‘access’ kept coming up after felt so forbidden, it seemed appropriate to use it for the title of our concert,” Lajiness said.

“Access” includes 12 dance and musical numbers in two acts.

“Ten of those pieces are unreleased,” Lajiness said. “The opening and closing pieces come from the ensemble’s existing repertoire which has been revamped for this year’s performers. This concert will also include dance renditions of winning poetry from the MCCC Fellow Writers Competition. »

Dancers Autumn Hensley of Monroe (left), Claire Bacarella of Monroe, Ashley Redfern of Dundee and Elisabeth Brockman of Monroe rehearse their contemporary dance number,

The Inside Out Dance Ensemble, the IODE Junior Company and Destination Tap Collective will dance. The ensemble members are Claire Bacarella, Elisabeth Brockman, Autumn Hensley, Ashley Redfern, Kara Walker and stunt double Madison Tallerico. Maysie Burns is a member of the Junior Company IODE. Autumn Hensley and Kelli Plumb are in Destination Tap Collective.

Several dances are in duet. Elisabeth, Autumn and Ashley will dance solos. Claire will perform a ballet solo.

“Claire is one of our newest members, having joined IODE last January. It has been fun choreographing a whimsical ballet solo for her. She is just lovely,” Lajiness said.

Kevin R. Daniels will perform live music for many of the numbers.

“I’m thrilled to have my friend and colleague Kevin R. Daniels join us on folk guitar and ukulele,” Lajiness said. “Kevin’s vocal performances are heartfelt and range from personal and intimate choices to fun storytelling adventures.”

Donning top hats and tap shoes, dance duo Autumn Hensley of Monroe (left) and Kelli Plumb of Dundee will perform

Daniels will perform the opening number, “Here Comes the Sun.”

“This piece has been in our repertoire since 2013, when it was chosen and performed exclusively with Kevin at the MCCC Collage Concert,” Lajiness said. “She is very near and dear to us, as well as her rendition of ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’, which has become a fan favorite among our collaborative projects. This year it includes one of his original songs called “Keepitogether”. It will be a sung message and a prayer to the Ukrainian people. Kevin will also perform “Hallelujah”, “Picture in a Frame” and “Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow”.

Accessories will also have a role in “Access”.

Elisabeth will use props for a solo dance based on her own original poem, “The Loud One,” which won top honors in this year’s MCCC Writing Fellows Poetry Competition.

“She uses a white box throughout this rendition of the dance which represents a very personal text in her poem,” Lajiness said.

Checking out her masked reflection in the mirror, Monroe's Autumn Hensley prepares to practice her contemporary tap solo.

Top hats and canes make an appearance in “Invitation to Dance,” a tap duet by Autumn and Kelli. Masquerade masks are part of Autumn’s contemporary tap solo titled “Masks Optional.”

“She wanted to use a masquerade-style mask on a stick to match Cirque de Soleil’s mysterious music called ‘Steel Dream,'” Lajiness said.

Lajiness will debut her new choreography in “Framework.”

“It’s a contemporary dance that’s supposed to debut in 2020,” she said. “It uses a large black frame as well as four distinct sections of an exact replica. It is danced by Claire, Elisabeth, Autumn and Ashley. They use the physical edges of the four frame sections to define, define and reconfigure their personal space and An easel serves as the centerpiece and central location for the frame.

Lajiness and her dancers have been creative during COVID.

“The dancers and I would chat on the phone, meet via Zoom or, when permitted, outdoors for site-specific work that responded to the environment,” she said. “When restrictions were lifted in outdoor spaces, we danced in area gardens, dancers’ courtyards or family properties that offered ample space with an interesting tableau, foliage colors, architecture. random applause from a passerby nourished our souls. We often filmed these adventures and thus have beautiful action photos taken by Helen Robinette. The return to the studio space was extremely long, “We are so grateful to have “access” to the scene. It’s a gift we appreciate beyond words.”

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