The {254} Dance-Fest returns to the Waco Cultural Arts Fest for its sixth year Oct. 5-7 with its usual mix of public performances, dance workshops and appearances by dance companies and dancers from across the state.

There’s one thing missing from this year’s edition, however: Waco dancer and choreographer L. Brooke Schlecte’s Out On A Limb Dance Company, a regular feature at previous dance festivals.

“We’re preparing for our April show,” admitted Schlecte, who said the group’s geographically scattered members, their busy schedules and an ambitious spring concert led them to sidestep this year’s festival.

Even without the contemporary dance troupe, the {254} Dance-Fest at the Waco Convention Center will feature 15 groups from across the state. Schlecte’s creative touch also will continue in pieces she’s choreographed for the Baylor Dance Company.

The three-day festival will feature a kids dance program at 10 a.m. Oct. 5 featuring children from pre-kindergarten to third grade and a family-oriented concert at 2 p.m. Oct. 7. The festival’s main public performances are slated for 5 and 7 p.m. Oct. 6 with the 7 p.m. performance suggested for older audiences due to thematic content rather than anything suggestive or explicit, Schlecte said.

Among the innovative pieces in the festival’s concert is a work presented in the 7 p.m. show by Austin dance company ARCOS which involves the audience watching on their cell phones, Schlecte said.

Oct. 6 workshops include a contemporary dance workshop by Houston dancer and choreographer Jennifer Mabus at 10:30 a.m.; an improvisation workshop by Big Rig Dance Collective at 12:30 p.m.; a gaga dance workshop by Austin’s Amy Morrow at 1:30 p.m.; and a contemporary Latin dance workshop by San Antonio’s Brittany Lopez. A contemporary jazz dance workshop will be held at noon Oct. 7.

Tribune-Herald entertainment editor