Anyone who knows Acia Gray knows it takes a helluva lot to keep that tenacious hoofer off her feet. In her 30-plus years of dancing professionally, you can probably count the times that something's kept her out of her tap shoes on one set of toes. So when Tapestry Dance Company announced this week that Gray has taken temporary leave of her duties as producing artistic director, the cause was bound to be serious. And it is: a flare-up of ulcerative colitis. Gray has fought the condition for well over a decade, and longtime Tapestry fans may recall that an outbreak nine years ago hospitalized Gray for more than two weeks and kept her from dancing for three months ("Finding a New Rhythm," Feb. 27, 2004).
This time, though, Gray, partner Deirdre Strand – with whom she co-founded Tapestry – and the company are working to see that history doesn't repeat itself. Gray is retreating from her daily duties at Tapestry and having Assistant Artistic Director Matt Shields restage its two upcoming shows: April Fools, a reprise of the charming tribute to vaudeville that premiered this spring ("April Fools," April 6), and Of Mice & Music, the company's jazzy riff on The Nutcracker that's becoming Tapestry's annual contribution to yuletide entertainment ("Of Mice & Music – A Jazz Nutcracker," Dec. 16, 2011).
Obviously, seeing these shows will show your support for Gray, but you'll also be supporting others who share Gray's condition: Some proceeds from both productions will benefit the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America.
April Fools runs Nov. 30-Dec. 2, Friday, 8pm; Saturday, 2 & 8pm; Sunday, 2pm, at the Rollins Studio Theatre at the Long Center, 701 W. Riverside.
Of Mice & Music – A Jazz Nutcracker runs Dec. 7-16, Thursday-Friday, 7pm; Saturday, 2 & 7pm; Sunday, 2pm, at the Boyd Vance Theatre in the Carver Museum and Cultural Center, 1165 Angelina. For more information, visit www.tapestry.org.
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