The Alma College Dance Company is hard at work creating their annual fall dance concert. The program includes works set by Alma dance faculty members, Ben Munisteri, Rosely Conz, Kristen Bennett and Lynn Bowman, along with guest choreographer Amanda Benzin.
The concert consists of five pieces, with each one choreographed by a different choreographer.
Allison Boulware (‘20) discussed what it has been like to work with a guest choreographer.
“Her name is Amanda Benzin and she is from Colorado Mesa University,” said Boulware.
“She’s choreographing a hip hop routine [for us], which is really cool because we do not have [hip hop] here, so it was really awesome to have her come in and teach us a piece like that.”
Boulware continued, “The main benefit [of the guest choreographer] is exposure to other styles that we would not normally get here. It is always a plus when the guests bring something new. With this dance, it has a lot of hip hop and breakdancing that most of us have probably not done since our competition days in high school or middle school, or even at all.”
“It has never been done [for the fall concert],” said Nicole Yost (‘21), regarding the hip hop style of dance.
“Since coming to Alma, we have only done modern, contemporary, ballet and maybe some tap or the occasional highland, so this was something much different, and it has been quite the challenge for us, but a good challenge. It pushes our boundaries and limits, but it is for the good.”
Another large aspect of the concert is the political approach one of the choreographers is having.
“Rosely Conz is taking sort of a political view with her piece this year.” said Boulware.
“She is talking about borders and divisions, and she has a history of using props in her pieces, so for this one, she has decided to use cinder blocks throughout it.”
“They create shapes, create dimensions, and create a look that you really cannot get unless you have a 20 pound block on your body,” Boulware continued.
“She is going to use [the cinder blocks] to represent and talk about the wall discussion at the US-Mexico border, and used the Berlin Wall as an inspiration.”
The political inspiration behind the piece creates a unity between arts and politics, and is a way for the dance program to speak about current events and issues in today’s society.
“I’m really excited for the piece. I think it’s going to turn out cool, and it will be something the audience has definitely never seen here before,” said Boulware.
The fall dance concert will be held at the Oscar E. Remick Heritage Center in Presbyterian Hall on November 9 and 10 at 7:30 p.m. and November 11 at 2:30 p.m. “Tickets are free for students and faculty, so we hope to see you there,” said Yost