Tracker Pixel for Entry

A legacy of dance

by Brittney Goodman | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | Theatre | October 22nd, 2015

The life and work of choreographer, director and dancer Eddie Gasper (1929-2015) will be honored on Saturday, Nov. 7, at a reception followed by a tribute dance performance at NDSU’s Festival Concert Hall.

The evening will begin with a cocktail reception from 5-7 p.m. The reception will feature food, wine and Bacardi cokes (Eddie’s signature drink), along with special talks by Jack Lee, Eddie’s accompanist during his Broadway career; Chrissy Fournier, veteran dancer and choreographer on Broadway and Minneapolis-St. Paul; and Matthew Gasper, owner and teacher at Gasper School of Dance, and artistic director of the FM Ballet.

The event will serve as the kick-off of the Eddie Gasper Legacy Fund, which according to his son, Matthew Gasper, was created because his father believed that “young artists should be able to afford lessons in dance, music and other artistic endeavors.” Tickets to the cocktail reception are $50 per person and may be purchased at http://fmballet.org/rsvp.

Immediately following the reception is a one-night only performance of “Legacy: The Eddie Gasper Dance Tribute.” The show features original choreography by Eddie Gasper, restaged by Matthew Gasper and alumni dancer Patrick Kasper. It will include some local favorites, including “Be a Santa” and “Toy Shop Fantasy.”

Matthew is very excited to be sharing his father’s work “with the next generation of dancers,” most of whom never got to work with Eddie. Matthew asserts that the performance will have something for everyone. Most of the dances are jazz and tap and are “iconic pieces of Eddie’s repertoire” and very much “musical theatre.”

Eddie Gasper and his wife (and dance partner), Kathy, who will be traveling from Bradenton, Fla., to attend the event, made great contributions to the performing arts in our region. After many years dancing and choreographing in New York and Hollywood, they relocated to Fargo-Moorhead in 1978 when Eddie was hired as director/choreographer at Minnesota State University Moorhead.

The Gaspers founded the F-M Center of Dance, and Red River Dance and Performing Company. They also choreographed/directed the main stage musical at Trollwood Performing Arts School from the years 1981-1991. Their son, Matthew, is currently continuing their legacy at Gasper’s School of Dance and the FM Ballet.

For a major portion of his career, Eddie was the assistant to Bob Fosse, distinguished choreographer and stage/film director, working with him on and off-Broadway and in Hollywood.

On Broadway, he choreographed “Fig Leaves are Falling” with Barry Nelson and Dorothy Loudon, and appeared as lead dancer in “Can Can,” “Sweet Charity,” “West Side Story,” “Irma la Douce,” “The Music Man” and “Guys and Dolls.”

Eddie also choreographed and directed for talents such as Juliet Prowse, Judy Carne, Ginger Rogers, Phil Silvers, Donald O’Connor, Agnes Moorhead, Kathryn Grayson and Howard Keel.

Twelve years ago, in the midst of a dancing career in Cleveland, Los Angeles and New York, Matthew was asked by his parents to relocate to Fargo and help at the school. What was intended to be a short-term commitment turned into a significant portion of Matthew’s career: “I have a tradition to carry on.” He loves teaching dance and is “proud of carrying on my parents’ legacy” at the Gasper School of Dance and the FM Ballet.

Matthew has many fond memories of his parents dancing. He remembers the last time that Eddie was on stage, at age 79, which was also the last time his parents danced in public together. The number was “Dickens’ Dance,” and he was transfixed by “the magic between the two of them on stage.” Matthew says, “They were both masters of the stage and you could not take your eyes off of them. You could see the joy on their faces. It was really wonderful when they danced together.”

Matthew is excited to be the artistic director for this special performance honoring his parents’ dancing legacy. For his father, Matthew says, “It was never merely about the dance steps; it was about the dance steps related to the character, and the character related to the dance.” He promises that attendees will “feel the music, the characters and the movements … every number is a show stopper.”

IF YOU GO

Legacy: The Eddie Gasper Tribute

Sat, Nov. 7, 2015; cocktail reception 5-7 p.m., performance 7 p.m.

Festival Concert Hall, NDSU, 1511 12th Ave N, Fargo

Tickets: $50 cocktail reception raising funds for the Eddie Gasper Legacy Fund - http://fmballet.org/rsvp; 7 p.m. performance $23, NDSU Box Office; https://tickets.ndsu.nodak.edu

Recently in:

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Policy, not law, has torn more than 2,300 children from their parents along the U.S.-Mexico border. Although immigration reform has been a heated topic for decades, the policy of zero tolerance began with a…

Stand-up comedy can certainly be a cutthroat business. Despite the fact that everyone loves to laugh, humor is highly subjective. What splits one person’s sides may offend the other. More than one comic has watched a show (or…

Monday, June 25, 7 p.m.Sanctuary Events Center, 670 4th Ave N, Fargo It’s no surprise that Q magazine dubbed The Flaming Lips one of the "50 Bands to See Before You Die," with their elaborate stage shows and multi-layered…

Just last week Raul and I were driving a rental car on the backroads of Mallorca, a small Mediterranean Island off the coast of Spain. Not gonna lie, my nose may or may not have been pressed hard against the window admiring the…

Ireland Has Sent Pope Francis and The Vatican A Dear John Letter: “It’s Over!”The Irish people and the Vatican have been developing a huge cultural grand canyon for decades over the issues of gender identities,…

FARGO - A collection of memories from High Plains Reader's annual Cocktail Showdown. Participants were judged on creativity, flavor, and presentation; and this year we added a new category. Like years before, each establishment was…

Every year the Fargo Moorhead area celebrates its love of food with Restaurant week. Each restaurant involved prepares a special menu to showcase the best of what they have to offer. This year there are seventeen restaurants…

Front Street Taproom has struck up a relation with local record shop, Vinyl Giant. There are two events where turntables are set up and people can play their records. Every Wednesday they host Vinyl Night from 7:00 to 11:00 p.m.…

Scaring up early buzz as a premiere in the Midnight section of the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, Ari Aster’s “Hereditary” is the horror film of the year. Anchored by the vital performance of Toni Collette as grieving,…

By Tayler Klimektklimek@cord.eduCome one, come all to the 59th anniversary of the Midwestern Invitational Art Exhibition! This tradition celebrates each year with a preview and awards selection the first night of its showing, with…

Projects have a tendency to take on a life of their own once they’ve reached a certain point. When the Fargo-Moorhead Community Theatre was established in 1946 to offer other local opportunities for artistic expression outside…

Fargo has its share of people who are passionate about stand-up comedy, even if the success of clubs devoted to it has been mixed. Despite the fact we have seen places like Courtney’s Comedy Club and Level 2 Comedy Club close…

By Ben Myhrebenmyhre35@gmail.comHow lucky we are in the FM area that we have so many craft breweries, but did you know that we also have two cider houses? Cottonwood Cider House is one of those cider houses and is just a short…

Best Local CelebrityCarson WentzBest Stylist / BarberJed Felix, Everett’s BarbershopBest Salon / Barber ShopEverett’s BarbershopBest Tattoo Parlor46 & 2 TattooBest Tattoo ArtistMeg Felix, No Coast TattooBest Gift ShopZandbroz…

By Melissa Martinmelissamartincounselor@live.comThink back to one of your worst small decisions. Then answer the following questions:How did you make the decision?What happened after the decision?When did you know it was the worst…

Last Word

​Keeping FM C.L.E.A.N

by HPR Contributor

By Paul JensenFargo, as the most populous city in the state with 120,000 inhabitants, added nearly 6,000 20-to-34-year-olds in 2015, just over five percent of the total population. Fargo is attracting well-educated young…