By Angie Muzzy
What do you get when you audition 54 dancers, create 15 dances, and perform three shows? The 9th Annual New Dancers Showcase. The number of new students that entered the Department of Dance has grown again, making this year’s class the largest to date! The performances were packed with family and friends to see what our new students were up to all semester. As the concert coordinator and a choreographer I had the pleasure of seeing the dances from their conception to the final project and it was a joy to be a part of the process.
The show stopper was, Vamp Stamp, by Chelsea Gavazzi (MA ’13) a voguing tap medley set to the music of Kevin Aviance. What is voguing you might ask? It is a highly stylized, modern house dance that evolved out of the Harlem ballroom scene in the 1980s most notably made famous by Madonna and has recently regained popularity. If you know how to “shablam” you know what I’m talking about.
This year we tried something new: not only did we have graduate students and faculty members choreograph, we had four eager BFA dance majors participate as well. One of our talented seniors, Christine Benincasa created a sextet titled Intersecting Edges. I asked her what the inspiration for the glow sticks was; she said, “My dancers! They wanted to use them and of course I said why not?” The piece was a fun, upbeat exploration of space with dancers swirling in and out of the floor, lifting one another and circling in the dark as their luminous rings, wrapped around their wrists, appeared to float magically in the air. Another senior, Rebecca Puretz will be taking her piece, Collateral Collapse, to Brooklyn in March to perform at DanceWaves Kid’s Café Festival. This venue offers serious high school dancers an opportunity to see dance departments from esteemed schools in action and to gain information about what it is like to be a college dance major. Not so long ago our new dancers were in these “kids” shoes. I guarantee our students will have an abundance of experiences to share about being a dancer in our distinguished program.
The New Dancers Showcase was a great success with generous help and support of our choreographers, faculty advisors and most importantly the artistic director, William Evans. I would like to applaud all of our new dancers for making this yearly tradition both exciting and memorable!