The University of Central Missouri OVATION Performance Series has announced five performing arts events for the spring 2023 season.

OVATION is a curated selection of world-class dancers, musicians, and theatre performers who will bring exceptional high-energy artistry to West-Central Missouri.

The series opens at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 28 in Hendricks Hall with a performance by internationally renowned tap dancers Ana Tomioshi and Gerson Lanza, performing with jazz pianist James Fernando, and musicians from UCM Music. Tomioshi, a Brazilian native, and Lanza, from Honduras, will showcase a unique integration of African-inspired tap dance and jazz music. Masterclasses for UCM students as well as dance students from Warrensburg’s Center Stage Academy will provide developing dancers with a unique learning opportunity.

Commenting on this opening event, Ashley Miller-Scully, chair of UCM Theatre and Dance, noted, “What a wonderful opportunity and experience it is to have professional tap dancers visit our campus, teach master classes to our students, and perform their talents for our university and community. Live tap dancing to live music is such a rare and special event and it’s one not to be missed. I guarantee the audience is going to love it."

OVATION continues Wednesday and Thursday, April 5-6 with second and third graders from Warrensburg elementary schools being treated to a private performance by the What If? Puppet Theater (formerly known as the Mesner Puppet Theater). The company celebrates the arts as essential for early childhood development while continuing its longstanding reputation as a leader in the field of puppetry.

Internationally renowned percussionist Yun Ju Pan will perform at 7 p.m. Monday, April 17 in Hart Recital Hall. Her solo performance career has taken her to every continent, and she is rapidly becoming known as a master educator in the field of percussion performance and teaching. While visiting Missouri, she will be a featured clinician at the Missouri Day of Percussion and will work with UCM Percussion students. Dr. Pan is currently the Director of Administration and International Arts at the Taiwan Percussion Arts Alliance, and the Founder and Director of P Play Percussion Group in Taiwan.

The Elliott Student Union auditorium stage comes to life Thursday, April 20 with a performance by the Africana Fefeworwor Dance Ensemble (AFDE). Founded in 1991, AFDE is one of Ghana's foremost cultural groups, dedicated to preserving and celebrating diverse cultural traditions of music and dance in Ghana and greater Western Africa. AFDE has a focus on fostering musical and dancing talent among the less fortunate and encouraging connectedness across their communities, which is shown among its members, ranging from 4 to 6 years old.

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The OVATION series concludes on Friday, April 21 with a performance by the Charged Particles jazz trio and saxophonist Tod Dickow at 7 p.m. in Hart Recital Hall. Celebrating their 30th anniversary performing, Charged Particles features three virtuosos from the U.S. playing jazz while crossing stylistic boundaries and blending diverse traditions to create new sounds. The trio's repertoire blends jazz with elements of Latin music, funk, classical music, and other genres. The band brings a similar approach to playing arrangements of tunes by other jazz artists and traditional jazz standards by the composers of America's most popular songs from decades ago, each played with a new twist.

The ensemble's performance of this music on their new CD, “Live at the Baked Potato!” (Summit Records), has received rave reviews accolades, including being labeled as one of the “Favorite Jazz Releases of 2021” by Jazz Times Magazine; recognized by Downbeat Magazine as a performing group that brings “exciting, satisfying stuff”; and described by Jazz Podium as “a tight unit that keeps the band sound exciting throughout."

All performances in the OVATION series are free. For more information, contact series director

Dr. Mia Kim at 660-543-8900 or visit the series webpage at

Puppet Theater: As part of the OVATION Performance Series, Warrensburg elementary school students in grades second and third will be treated to a performance by What If? Puppet Theater (formerly Mesner Puppet Theater) April 5-6.

Yunju Pan: Internationally renowned percussionist Yun Ju Pan will perform at the University of Central Missouri on April 17 as part of the University of Central Missouri OVATION Performance Series.

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