The studio was filled with the sound of falling feet, the soft tumbling of bodies to the floor, and the sight of bright sequins sparkling in the red and white spotlights. Members of the Alma College Dance Company moved across the stage in flashy style for the Student Choreography Concert last weekend.
“Overall, I loved it,” said Brandon Newton (‘13), who was a light designer for the show. “I think the choreographers really outdid themselves, not only in selecting the music, but the dancers they chose to pair with those songs really jived and brought their own unique attitude to the piece.
But aside from the dancing, what also made this show unique is that it was organized entirely by students.
“It’s unusual for undergraduates to get a chance to do a whole show on their own,” said Jennifer Sarver, visiting instructor of dance.
This is usually an opportunity offered to students in graduate school, she explained, and “it’s to such a high degree…we’re very proud of that!”
The work for the show began in September, when dancers auditioned for parts in the show, explained Kristen Bennett, visiting instructor of dance. And while the instructors gave critiques and feedback, the artistry behind the pieces was left up to the dancers—from style to footwork to costumes.
“We help direction-wise sometimes,” Bennett said, “[but] we don’t choreograph anything for the show.”
Also, the seniors take charge of directing the concert and this year, it was time for Amanda Jackson (‘13), Devon Brisbon (‘13), and Lina Cortes (‘13) to take on that responsibility in addition to choreographing.
“It’s definitely a point of pride for all the seniors,” Jackson shared. “We started out in September holding auditions…and we made rehearsal schedules, and now that it’s show time, we had to contact lighting people, and do everything from the programs to the posters to editing music.”
Brisbon said she had mixed feelings about the show.
“The other night in rehearsal [I told] the other directors Amanda and Lina, ‘I think I’m going to cry knowing it’s all almost over,’” she said. “It’s bittersweet but any time I get to share my talent with someone is another time for me to smile and be happy.”
Others involved with choreography included Erica Fraiser (‘14), Erin Self (‘14), Chelsea Radgens (‘14), Ashley Alore (‘14), Maggie Donley (‘14) Maggie Donley (‘14) Sam Coykendall (‘15), and Veronica Alore (‘15).
These dancers, along with Alyssa Harris (‘14), Marissa Sheffield (‘14), Mackensie Garlow (‘15), Cassie Haley (‘15), Allie Woodburne (‘15), Morgan Markowicz (‘16), Isabelle Limondin (‘16), Lauren Page (‘16), Melanie Yost (‘16), and Marissa Relitz (‘16) performed in at least two numbers.
Styles varied from jazz to hip-hop to modern, and even some pointe. For Markowicz, was her first choreography concert.
“I love every piece I was chosen for in this show,” she said. “I really feel like it brings out the best of my ability and makes me work toward my full potential!”
Her favorite aspect of dance is the potential for self-expression she finds in it, she said.
“I can let go of everything else at that moment and just do what I love,” Markowicz explained. “It’s a great stress reliever and a great way to stay in shape.”
The concert featured three shows last weekend—Friday, Saturday, and Sunday—and has been held annually in January for a number of years.
“It’s a long-standing tradition,” said Bennett.