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Choreographer’s Showcase features student talent

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Choreographer’s Showcase features student talent

Clare Merante, Contributing Writer

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The spring Choreographer’s Showcase was held on April 5 at 7:30 p.m. and on April 6 at 2:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. in the Tustin Studio Theatre. The showcase is the culminating project for students participating in the University’s Dance Composition course. Dance Composition, taught by Professor of Dance Er-Dong Hu, is a full credit course that is required for dance minors. Hu also directed the Choreographer’s Showcase.

 

The choreographers held auditions at the beginning of the semester and cast students in their pieces. Each choreographer had 4-5 dancers and two months to put together a showcase piece. The featured choreographers were Chiara Evans ’21, Jillian Henderson ’21, Kendyll Hazzard ’21, Ellie Hooker ’21, McKayla Charney ’21, Meg MacNeille ’21, Clare McGowan ’21, Clare Merante ’21, Abigail McMullin ’21, Eva Munshower ’20, Sydney Slater ’21, Kristin Smith ’21, and Katrien Weemaes ’21.

 

Evans said choreographing “was a really interesting experience because I’d been choreographed on so many times, but didn’t know what it was like to be on the other side. It’s almost scarier to watch a piece that you made be performed because it was out of my hands at that point. There is so much trust involved.”

 

Similarly, McGowan said, “Choreographing for the showcase was a very fun, but also challenging experience for me. There were very frustrating times in my creative process when I had no idea what movements would come next, where the dancers would be positioned, or even what music to use, but seeing my dancers perform my piece with the lighting design and costumes was one of the most rewarding experiences ever and I’m glad I can now have this piece in my repertoire.”

 

Carefully programmed lighting was organized by student volunteers and the dancers’ colorful costumes were created in the University’s costume shop. The variety of lighting styles and various attire highlighted the many styles of dance. Lighting designer Megan Munter ’21 said, “I really loved that every piece had a story behind it. It was visible in their faces, costumes, the lighting, and especially the movements of the dancers. I loved that there were so many different pieces and that each one was really different, so you got to see a variety of styles and that was really exciting.”

 

The showcase also featured performances from different student groups such as the Bison Girls, Bisonettes, Bison Beats, and Irish Step Dancing, as well as the class Modern I and Jazz I, with choreography by Megan Fournier ’19, Ilana Shektman ’19, Titi Awe ’19, Katie Cantagallo ’20, Trevor Kunz ’19, and Grace Cook ’19. The guest choreographer was alumni Kourtney Ginn ’12, who graduated cum laude with a major in business administration and a minor in dance. Her dance was performed by dancers wearing gloves and knee-length pink dresses.

 

The student directors of the showcase were Charney and Samantha Sturken ’19. “This was my first time directing a show, so I was not entirely sure what to expect. It was such a great experience though. I was able to work closely with the dance professors and seniors who were also directing. It was amazing to see all of the pieces come together so nicely and to see everyone’s hard work pay off,”  Charney said.

 

The audience was very engaged in the performance, with loud applause and cheering following every piece.

 

The Department of Theater and Dance will also be sponsoring the Spring Dance Concert, featuring the University’s dance company. This performance, directed by Associate Professor of Dance Dustyn Martincich, will be held at the Weis Center for the Performing Arts on April 27 at 7:30 p.m. and April 28 at 2:00 p.m.

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Choreographer’s Showcase features student talent