JORDAN FOX AND ALIVIA GILES
The Alma College Dance Company and the Kiltie Dance Company are both hard at work preparing for their upcoming Fall Dance Concert set to show this November.
Ben Munisteri, associate professor of dance, is directing the concert. Auditions were held on Aug. 30. The rehearsal process began shortly after.
“Casting was really challenging because we got a record number of people coming to the audition,” said Professor Munisteri. “The audition was Tuesday, Aug. 30, and I had something like 40 people show up, and we cast almost all of them.”
“As a result, we had to create pieces that weren’t too heavy with dancers, so 13 is the most. We had to spread everybody out over seven dances: four Alma College Dance Company dances and three Kiltie dances,” said Munisteri.
This year, the Alma College Dance Company was able to spend a week working with Winston Dynamite Brown, a choreographer from New York, to create an original dance that both faculty and students are looking forward to.
Normally, Brown has weeks to create a piece. The process of choreographing this dance was “daunting” due to the short time frame and complexity of the process.
“We only had about 18 hours to construct the work, and that’s no small feat because I came in with a blank canvas,” said Brown. “My process is largely playful and collaborative, meaning that I [left] a lot of space for interpretation because I [wanted the dancers] to inject who they are.”
Brown says the work is intended to “evoke and inspire conversation,” said Brown. “I want people when they leave to be inspired by what they saw and want to discuss it further.”
“We were very lucky to get him, and scheduling him was not easy,” said Munisteri. “Working with him was very challenging for the dancers. He has hip-hop, modern, jazz and some contemporary all in one dance.”
“[Working with Winston] was a very collaborative process,” said Sydney Lopez (‘24), a member of the Alma College Dance Company. “He created two longer phrases, and then had each dancer create a ‘solo’. From there he sliced and reorganized the movements throughout the piece.” Lopez said.
As a returner to the dance company, Lopez is looking forward to continuing to connect and bond with the other performers.
“My favorite part of preparing for this concert is, honestly, getting to bond with my fellow dancers. The people I have met through the dance department have allowed me to create a familial bond and a home away from home here at Alma,” said Lopez.
On the Kiltie side, the dancers will be performing three dances. “Two of them are Scottish meets contemporary, and one is a traditional Scottish piece,” said Munisteri.
As a company, we decided we wanted to broaden our dances,” said McKenna Lindsay (‘24), a member of the Kiltie Dance Company. “We have a couple that are out of our comfort zone, and we also have a traditional piece.”
This is McKenna’s third year as a Kiltie dancer at the college. She has always loved performing for an audience and, like many others, is looking forward to showing off the new dances at the concert.
“I am looking forward to performing. I love dancing… Dancing in front of a crowd, and possibly giving them joy or entertainment, makes it that much better… [It] is one of the best feelings,” said Lindsay.
Lindsay and many of her fellow dancers enjoy the challenge of learning new dances and the satisfaction of watching her hard work come to life.
“My favorite part about preparing for the show is learning new choreography and watching it all come together as a group,” said Lindsay. “I am excited to watch [the pieces] all come together on stage next weekend.”
The Fall Dance Concert performances are set for Nov. 11 to 13. Tickets are available on the Alma College webpage; seating is reserved.