Bucknell Dance Company sends seniors off in style

Christina Oddo, Senior Writer

The Theatre and Dance Department is proud to announce the Bucknell Dance Company Spring Concert today and tomorrow at 8 p.m. in the Weis Center for the Performing Arts.

This concert is dedicated to Steven Draheim and Joan Moyer-Clark, both “teachers and friends committed to the artistic growth of our department and especially to dance at Bucknell,” Associate Professor of Dance Kelly Knox said.

Draheim was the lighting designer and technical director at the University for four years starting in 1990.

“I cherish my years having Steve as my talented, cheerful, and caring design colleague at Bucknell,” Professor of Theatre Elaine Williams said. “These were golden years growing our theatre and dance programs.”

Over the past 10 years, Draheim has continued to return to the University from his position at the University of Oklahoma to serve as a guest lighting designer for spring company concerts.

“Joan Moyer-Clark was a legendary dance teacher in this region,” Knox said. “The dance classes she began teaching in the 1960s and 70s were foundational for building the academic program in dance. She also choreographed musicals for the Bucknell Dance Company and the Bucknell University Dance Ensemble.”

Moyer-Clark founded the Moyer Institute for Dance, and three generations later it continues to offer dance in this area.

Guest artists have also set pieces for this concert. Tara Keating of the Philadelphia-based Ballet X set a contemporary ballet piece from the company’s repertoire. Also, Kelly and Mollye Maxner from the University of North Carolina’s School of the Arts have worked with company dancers to create a physical theatre piece. Associate Professor of Dance Er-Dong Hu and Knox have choreographed new pieces, and students have also choreographed new work for this Concert.

“It has been such a wonderful experience to work with the BDC dancers,” student choreographer Catharine Cipolla ’14 said. “I’ve loved the opportunity to work with new dancers, a larger number of girls and set my piece in the Weis Center–which I’ve never done before.”

A piece choreographed by Salim Gauwloos, a renowned dancer and choreographer who has worked with Madonna, was featured in the Fall Dance Showcase last semester, and will also be featured in this weekend’s company concert.

“It has been even more of an honor to have the opportunity to dance on the Weis Center stage in Salim’s piece,” Cipolla said. “I’m beyond excited to bring back this piece choreographed by Salim Gauwloos. Even though we come from two different divisions within the Dance Program, BDC has welcomed us into their show and hence expanded the dance community at Bucknell. I’m excited to see what other opportunities will happen within the dance department in later years.”

Hu said that the students, alumni, and current faculty share a particular connection. He emphasizes the nature of the Dance Company, and the essence of family that holds the group together.

“I have become part of a family that constantly supports me in anything I set out to do, even if it isn’t dance related,” Company dancer and choreographer Kelsey Fletcher ’14 said. “Our three dance faculty have had a great impact on both my dance ability and my life in general.”

Hu also says that this concert is both technically challenging and fantastic.

“I am proud as director of the Company,” Hu said.

This year’s senior company members and alumni have a specific connection. Melissa Leonard ’12 choreographed a piece for this spring’s concert. Leonard said that she danced with all of the seniors during her time as an undergraduate, and has been able to watch them grow over the years and also through her experience as an alumni choreographer.

“I feel very fortunate to work with seven amazing dancers and, for the first time in my career here, we have the privilege of dancing to live music composed by our department’s own Noah Fram,” Knox said. “My friends and colleagues Phil Haynes and Barry Long along with Alex Horowitz ’16 will join us on the Weis stage. The combination of concert dance with live music and the dynamic possibility it creates, has been a new and rewarding experience for me.”

Tickets for the Spring Dance Concert are $5 for students, $10 for others, and can be purchased at the Box Office, online, and at the door.

“It is going to be an exceptional show and I am honored to share the stage one last time with such talented and inspirational dancers, especially the seniors that I have gotten to know so well over our four years together,” Company dancer Amanda Kelleman ’14 said.

“I know that wherever I am and whatever I am doing, I will have a place with the Bucknell Dance Company,” Fletcher said.

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