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Source: Kurt Gartner, 785-532-3808,
Note to editor: Morgan Bertison and Bryce Craig are both graduates of Olathe North High School.
Photos available. Download at and
News release prepared by: Rachel Skybetter, 785-532-1566,

Thursday, April 7, 2011


MANHATTAN -- Why spend a Tuesday evening watching "Dancing with the Stars" on TV when Kansas State University's own stars will be live in Manhattan?

Dancers and musicians will be putting on Ritmos Cubanos, or Cuban Rhythms, to mark the culmination of a yearlong study of Cuban music and dance. The event is at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 19, in McCain Auditorium.

Featuring some familiar styles like the cha-cha and salsa and some lesser-known folkloric tunes, Ritmos Cubanos will not only showcase the talents of many K-State artists, but also a broad taste of Cuban culture. Members of the Percussion Ensemble, the Latin Jazz Ensemble and Orquesta Tipica will be performing alongside K-State dancers. Tod Kerstetter, associate professor of clarinet, will be adding his talents to Orquesta Tipica. Other special guests include choreographer Victor Alexander Ramirez Pages and percussionist Ruben Alvarez, who both draw heavily from Latin influence.

"There's a certain dynamic to bringing dancers together with percussion, and Cuban music is highly vibrant," said Kurt Gartner, professor of percussion. "Each style is very different and distinct."

The collaboration is the brainchild of Gartner and Julie Pentz, associate professor and director of the K-State dance program. A Tilford Diversity Grant allowed the ensembles to broaden the experience and bring in valuable resources like Pages and Alvarez, Gartner said.

The performance is free and open to the public. It will be streamed live online. For the Web address, please refer to on April 19.

"It will be exciting and entertaining, as well as a little bit informative," Gartner said. "I had a teacher who said that we should be educating performers and performing educators, and I try to stay true to that."

Students performing in Ritmos Cubanos include:

Michael Sturd, percussion, Arkansas City; Jordan Roberts, dancer, Beloit; Chelsey Cook, percussion, Berryton; Krystall Ring, dancer, Clay Center; Mary Byram, dancer, Council Grove; Chris Zimmerman, singer, Derby; Brett Eichman, percussion, Dodge City; Bethany Lambrecht, percussion, Fort Riley; Karina Camacho, dancer, Garden City.

From Greater Kansas City: David Frazier, euphonium, Gardner; Isaac Falcon Campos, dancer, and Ashley Murray, dancer, both from Kansas City, Kan.; Josh Heath, percussion, Kansas City, Mo., Lisa Kranz, singer, and Andi Strutz, dancer, both from Leawood; Drew Szczesny, percussion, and Anne Wicoff, piano, both from Lenexa; Morgan Bertison, dancer, and Bryce Craig, percussion, both from Olathe; and Sarah Megee, dancer, Overland Park.

Jaimie Shores, percussion, Haven; Robby Avila, alto saxophone, Haysville.

From Hutchinson: Elliot Arpin, percussion; Molly Wichman, dancer; and Rachel Witham, dancer.

Adam Watson, percussion, Junction City; Collin Hosek, percussion, Lawrence.

From Manhattan: Janie Brokenicky, singer; Anna Murphy, violin; Meredith Olds, dancer; Ellen Roberson, dancer; Emory Rosenow, violin; Bobby Scharmann, bass; Eric Starnes, trumpet; and Aliyah Stephens, percussion.

Whisper Livingston, dancer, Meriden; Ethan Wagoner, percussion, McPherson; Nick Anderson, percussion, Parker; Austin Barnes, percussion, and Karissa Spohn, dancer, both from Salina.

From Topeka: Johannah Good, percussion; Alex Hughes, percussion; and Randy Rhoten, dancer.

Afton Brown, dancer, Wichita.

From out of state: Emily Frasier, percussion, Limon, Colo.; Joe Kulick, percussion, Oswego, Ill.; Ryan Smallwood, percussion, Lino Lakes, Minn.; Benjamin Raaf, percussion, Blue Springs, Mo.; Kelsey Hoffman, dancer, St. Louis, Mo.; Melissa Woodworth, clarinet II, Papillion, Neb.; Bryant Letellier, trombone, Los Alamos, N.M.; Greg Coffey, percussion, Kinderhook, N.Y.; Tyler Nenaber, dancer, Huron, S.D.; and Jesse Milholm, dancer, Katy, Texas.