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Great Arts at Eastern this week talks with Dancer Heather Hagler about Portales Showcase

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ENMU Department of Theatre and Digital Filmmaking
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Eastern New Mexico University

GENTRY:  And now Great Arts at Eastern, from the Portales campus of Eastern New Mexico University. I'm Jeff Gentry, Dean of the College of Fine Arts here on KENW, Your Public Radio Network. Today my guest is Heather Hagler of Clovis High School and ENMU. She appears in Portales Showcase: Talent of the Eastern Plains, opening tonight for a four-day run of live shows via streaming video. Heather, thank you so much for being my guest today.

HAGLER:  Thank you for having me.

GENTRY:  Well, you were a Portales native performing in the Portales Showcase. What keeps bringing you back to the High Plains?

HAGLER:  I have to say right off the bat, the people. I love the community here, and I love the friends in the support system that I have here.

GENTRY:  Well, it's really neat to have you back here. You know you spent some time in Washington and seeing things. So I'm so glad you teach at Clovis High School, and you're a librarian, but you also teach a variety of classes. Tell us about your current position.

HAGLER:  Sorry to correct you, but I am actually a librarian at Marshall Middle School.

GENTRY:  Oh, the wrong school. 

HAGLER:  It is OK, it is OK. Miss Jenny Jeffrey actually teaches at the High School. So, a shout out to Jenny. But yeah, so I'm at Marshall Middle School, and I am the librarian there, and I also teach journalism, intro to theatre, and sixth-grade orientation.

GENTRY:  Yeah, Middle School is overlooked right, and I just did it right.

HAGLER:  It's OK. You're forgiven.

GENTRY:  And then you also teach dance here at ENMU. So that's pretty exciting, so the showcase opening tonight offers a diverse lineup of acts. Tell us about your tap dance performance.

HAGLER:  So, the tap dance performances actually a collaboration of tap dance and film. Rick Shepardson from the Film Department and I, of course, being colleagues. We decided to put together our talents to make a film of a combined vision of tap dance with experimental film. So, what we did is we collaborated on brainstorming for it. We put together a storyboard on what we wanted to show and see. Then we got together to film the tap dance. And then, from there, Rick has edited some scenes into the tap number.  Along with the music and my tap dancing. So it's gonna be pretty cool, I think. So it's been a fun collaboration 'cause it's two very different things together.

GENTRY:  Right and then, of course, the whole program is very diverse-.

HAGLER:  Yes,

GENTRY:  - with sketch comedy and vocal and instrumental music, magic. I mean, there's- there's so much. so you began dancing at a young age. Why should young boys and girls take up this art form?

HAGLER:  Uh, funny story. I actually started back into dance when I was 14. and I was- I had some muscle issues that I was made me really stiff. And I had a doctor that said go take yoga or dance. And so I joined in a ballet class just for more the flexibility and ended up falling in love with it. And then, from there, I just continued to reach out and branch out into learning as many different dance forms that I could get my hands on and feet on.

GENTRY:  Wonderful. and I know that you've taught dance. You've coached dance. You've done dance with theatre and directed theatre. So now, recently, I had a chance to act with your High School teacher Bill Strong.

HAGLER:  Awesome.

GENTRY:  What did he teach you in theatre that you try to pass down to your students?

HAGLER:  You know, Bill Strong was phenomenal with teaching kids how to do things so that he could delegate what he needed to get done. And so whenever I came- I was able to step in the position after he retired. And the biggest- a lot of the things that I learned I learned from Mr. Strong was because he allowed us to- he allowed us to do, and he allowed us to get our hands dirty and to problem solve. And I was lucky enough to be part of a student- student-directed-, and I guess student-directed play. Whenever I was in a Junior in High School with two of my best friends who were seniors. We did Neil Simon's The Good Doctor. And so we were just allowed to put the production on, and we took that enrolled with it and put on a really good production.

GENTRY:  Well, thank you, Heather Hagler, for being with us today. Portales Showcase: Talent of the Eastern Plains opens live tonight at 7:00 p.m., continuing through Saturday. And a Sunday matinee at 2:00 o'clock. Shows are free to the public worldwide. Register at www.enmu.edu/TheatreLive. So, thanks for listening right here on KENW, your Public Radio Network.

Portales Showcase: Talent of the Eastern Plains

Directed by Anne Beck

Featuring students, faculty and

members of the community

Thursday, April 22, 2021 | 7 p.m.

Friday, April 23, 2021 | 7 p.m.

Saturday, April 24, 2021 | 7 p.m.

Sunday, April 25, 2021 | 2 p.m.

enmu.edu/TheatreLive