By Sasha Dudock
What do Queen, Highland dancing and a live orchestra all have in common? They were all part of the Spring dance concert last weekend in Presbyterian Hall.
The dance department has been busy this past semester preparing for the concert, which featured an array of students from the dance department as well as the Kiltie Dancers. They preformed to a variety of songs including selections by Queen, Colin Payne and Wolf Stone.
The concert mostly consisted of modern and contemporary dancing, except for the song Pas de Quatre, a ballet, which was Victoria Coy Kendall’s senior thesis. The story behind the dance is back in the 1800s – the four greatest dancers of the time were called to dance together for the ballet, Pas de Quatre.
The show was short lived because the dancers did not get along with one another and only performed four times in 1845. Kendall restaged this ballet for six of the dancers here on campus.
The dance department starts working toward the spring concert the first week after Christmas break.
“We have auditions and then we start rehearsing 24/7,” said Somerton DeGraffenreid (‘19), a dance minor. Each night is a rehearsal with a different dance instructor, each instructor focused on a different style of dance she explained.
“Ben [Munisteri] specializes in modern,” explained DeGraffenreid. “Rosely [Conz] does our ballet and modern, and Kristen [Bennett] does our jazz and contemporary style.”
The process can be stressful for dancers, especially the week leading up to the concert.
“The week leading up to the show we run the whole show over and over again to get the order right, get everything running smoothly, it’s a lot of physical activity and strain, but it’s all worth it in the end,” said Allison Boulware (‘20).
Although the dancers put in a lot for the concert, there is also so much going on behind the scenes that makes sure the show runs smoothly. This concert in particular had an intense lighting scheme.
“The lights for this show are very complex. Last night we had a very smooth final rehearsal. So I’m really excited that I was able to conquer the light cues,” said Stage Manager Aeriel Stroven (‘18).
Stroven also gave insight on how the dance department invents each concert.
“Production staff, the choreographers, the stage manager, Ben [Grohs] for lighting, and Tina [Vivian] for costumes get together and then up until the show we have weekly production meetings.”
“At the production meetings we just talk about what each piece is about, what’s inspiring them, and then Ben [Grohs], as the lighting designer, finds photos that he feels represents [the dance] that help to figure out the colors that he wants. Then, Tina [Vivian] is there to help with costumes and inspiration.”
There are many ways to get involved in dance at Alma without being a major or a minor. The Alma College Hepcats is the partner dance group here on campus, and members teach East Coast Swing, Lindy Hop, and blues dancing every Saturday from 8 to 11 p.m. in the Band room.
Another great opportunity to get involved with dance is to join the cheer and stunt team, the Kiltie Dancers, or the Kiltie Color Guard that works with the Kiltie Marching Band in the Fall and by themselves in the winter.
Overall, the concert was a hit and, this one being the last for seniors, left them on a positive note.
“I am ready for the last show but at the same time it’s just something I wish I would’ve gotten into sooner, but my time in the company has been amazing and I’ve loved it,” said Stroven.