When you stop to think how much dance performance takes place in Fort Wayne every year, it’s easy to see how much talent is living in this town. But it takes more than the dancers themselves to create the beautiful and professional performances which take place all year long. It also takes choreographers to teach, mentor and lead those dancers to bring their talents to fruition.

The vast talent of choreographers in this area comes into focus when you see the people behind Fort Wayne Dance Collective’s annual Choreographer’s Lab which not only displays the talents of those choreographers there to teach, but also shines a spotlight on the dancers who participate, the students eager to move beyond their own movement and branch out into leading others along with their own vision of dance.

Sharing her expertise at the Choreographer’s Lab is Elizabeth Mikautadze, artistic director of Mikautadze Dance Theatre. In the press release for the event, Mikautadze shares why she enjoys sharing her passion with others.

“Inspiring future artists and encouraging the possibility of pursuing careers in dance and, at the same time, getting inspired ourselves by fresh ideas are always welcomed opportunities. We look forward to sharing our premiere work, “Talkin’,” with Fort Wayne Dance Collective and the community and to seeing the other dance works performed by all of the Lab participants.”

Mikautadze has led the eight-week intensive choreography lab, sharing works with the students, culminating in a pair of performances at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 6 and 4 p.m. on Sunday, May 7. In addition to Mikautadze’s pieces, the performances will showcase the choreographic talents of New American Youth Ballet’s Madalyn Pulver and of Ashley Benninghoff, director of Pineapple Dance Project, Fort Wayne Dance Collective’s Youth Performing Company. The youth company is still establishing itself under the leadership of Benninghoff and newly named FWDC artistic director Mandie Kolkman.

The collaboration between MDT and FWDC is a great byproduct of these learning opportunities, allowing students to learn from a diverse faculty.

To catch one of the two performances of the Choreographer’s Lab, tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for students. Tickets will be available at the door but can also be purchased in advance by calling 424-6574 or through the Fort Wayne Dance Collective website at fwdc.org.