Bucknell Spring Showcase highlights student talent

Juliana Rodrigues, Contributing Writer

Looking for something to do and keep you entertained next weekend? The Bucknell Spring Dance Showcase is making its way back to the Tustin Blackbox Theater on April 22 and 23, for the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Spring Showcase has been a part of the Bucknell Dance Program for over 30 years, and its absence these past few years has been felt by many. Dancers, choreographers, crew and staff have been working tirelessly all semester to put together a show that will be worth your while. The show will feature 15 dances choreographed from students of the Dance 262 composition class–taught by Professor of Dance Er-Dong Hu, along with performances from the Bison Girls and Bisonettes, and more. To give deeper insight into what showcase is and the importance it holds within the Bucknell Dance Program we discussed this special event with staff, student directors, choreographers and dancers.

When talking with Professor Hu–who oversees most of the choreographers for the Spring Showcase–he reflected on the importance of this performance compared to past performances. He explained that “This choreographers showcase is different from the fall showcase because it is integrated with the Dance Composition Course. It’s beautiful to witness their choreographic process and to see their creative visions come to life. Though I am very proud of their final product in the process, it is even more special to witness their learning process. We have also collaborated with [Lecturer of Theatre and Dance Heath] Hansum’s lighting design class to have the experience of merging dance composition with stage lighting. It’s been a great experience. This concert is heavily student- run and gives students the opportunity to exercise leadership skills while celebrating their passion for dance.” 

Thinking in the greater world of dance he was also able to share with us the importance of the choreographic process for dancers in training, saying, “It is so important for your dancers to share their work with the community they are a part of. The choreographic process is a way for young dance students to engage in academics and their community while at Bucknell. Their eyes have been opened to so many styles and compositional skills in this process.” Er-Dong’s role within the dance program not only includes teaching classes and choreographing for Main Stage performances, but also being a guiding and mentor figure to these students taking the next steps in their dance careers: choreographing for a real show.

Student Directors of the dance program are a crucial factor for organization throughout the semester and specifically these events. Student Director for 2021-22 Gillian Fabijanic ’22 took time to share her experience with dance and Showcase at the University these past four years. Thinking back to her time as a choreographer for showcase she said, “Dance Composition (DANC262) is a course where students get to learn all about choreography, production, and they get to design, cast, and choreograph their own piece as their “final project” that gets performed in this show! What I love about Comp is that many of the choreographer’s pieces reflect the type of dancer and person they are so well! It is so rewarding as a choreographer to watch your piece be performed on stage. My favorite memories of the dance department have been from choreographing and setting pieces. It is so much fun and so rewarding to get to work with such talented and kind dancers and to develop friendships over the course of the semester.” 

She explained the significance of her new role within the program as a director, “Through dancing on stage and all of the work behind the scenes, I feel like I’ve become so much more of a leader. The Bucknell Dance Program truly is my ‘home away from home’. I loved Showcase so much as a first year that I decided to become more involved with the Dance department. After my first show freshman year, I knew I wanted to choreograph my sophomore year, take dance composition, and minor in dance. As a director, I really hope that I can make the experience of being in Showcase as great as it was for me as an underclassmen. Showcase will always hold a special place in my heart because it is how I became best friends with my now co-director, Dana!” 

She was also able to share her final thoughts as to why the showcase is such an important part of dance at the University, “For many students, it is the first dance production they are involved in. It’s low-stakes, not competitive, and really designed for students that just want to dance and have fun! What I think is so great about it is that it brings so many people across class years, majors, even dance backgrounds together. Whether you’ve been a lifelong dancer like me or you have never danced before and you want to try it in college, there is a place for you within this show.”

Dance minor Molly Stirling ’25 shared her experience thus far with the Spring Showcase saying, “I have loved being a part of the Spring Showcase this year! First semester I was in a residency so I learned my dance over one weekend with a guest choreographer. It was such a great experience! This semester has been even more rewarding as the dance composition students choreographed the two pieces I am in throughout the past few months. I was assigned to the pieces of two second year dancers from the composition class. Not only have they been amazing role models within the dance program but also extremely talented dancers and choreographers. I’m so thankful to get to share this showcase experience with them!”

The Bucknell Spring Dance Showcase will premiere next Friday April 22 at 7:30 p.m., with two shows the following day April 23 at 2:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Come support the Bucknell Dance Program and see their wonderful creations brought to stage at the Tustin Blackbox Theatre. 

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