The Alma College Dance Company was hard at work over the first half of the semester preparing for their Spring Dance Concert that showed March 10-12. This concert featured dances choreographed by both faculty and students.
Ben Munisteri, Associate Professor and Director of Dance and Chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance directed the concert. Auditions were held at the beginning of the winter semester, and the rehearsal process began shortly after.
“We auditioned student dancers for the Spring Dance Concert on Jan. 9… We were not able to cast all the students this time, mostly because of schedule conflicts and an attempt to avoid casting too many people in one piece. Nonetheless, the audition yielded 28 dancers in the Alma College Dance Company this term,” said Professor Munisteri.
With only about a month to prepare for the concert, it was anything but easy for the dancers. “The rehearsal process [was] intense and productive. We [rehearsed] in the evenings, so [it was] a challenge for our students who [had to] exert a lot of energy at the end of the day,” said Munisteri.
This year, the Alma College Dance Company performed two dances crafted by faculty members, one created by Munsiteri and the other by Kayt MacMaster, as well as four student-choreographed pieces chosen from the Student Choreography Concert back in February.
“The concert [had] student dances… about women during the Holocaust (Allison Zardus); an intimate relationship (Audrey Plouffe); patterns, rhythms and music (Zoë Dawson) and an abstraction of personal interdependence (Syd Lopez). Faculty pieces include A Charm of Goldfinches by Kayt MacMaster, Interlude 2 by me and Clashes by me,” said Munisteri.
The concert explored a variety of topics and moods to create an exciting and diverse show for Alma College students, faculty, staff and the community.
“[The show] start[ed] off really upbeat and then [transitioned to] the student choreography pieces [which] are definitely more serious content and then it [ended] with Kayt’s piece, which had an almost electronic soundtrack that [brought the show] back together,” said Emma Neyer (‘23), a member of the Alma College Dance Company.
“It [was] interesting to see the faculty pieces next to the student choreographed pieces because you can see where they draw from each choreography but then also how they harness it to be their own,” said Neyer.
Neyer performed in Munisteri’s piece which she described as “very different for him. I’ve been in Ben’s previous works ever since I started dancing here as a freshman and this one is definitely my favorite… It’s upbeat and funky and fun; it’s very much like jazz and modern smothered into one movement.”
Like others who are familiar with the dance company, Neyer loves the way that she is able to perform with others while still maintaining her creativity as an individual dancer.
“I’ve been dancing for [about] 13 years and …coming to college I really fell in love with the movement and the atmosphere here because you don’t have to be identical to the person next to you. You can be expressive and interpret the movement as art and I really appreciate that because I like to stand out and be unique,” said Neyer. The Spring Dance Concert, along with other performances by the Alma College Dance Company, brought dancers across campus together and allowed them to express themselves and share feelings with the Alma community through dance.