Wednesday, April 18, 2012

PLU students dance the night away

By Kelsey Hilmes, A&E Reporter

Dance ensemble is back and stronger than ever.

Dance 2012 takes the stage as this year’s annual dance showcase, combining the PLU dance team, step team and a variety of dancers from the Pacific Lutheran community.

Directed by Associate Professor of Dance Maureen McGill, the production features 13 performances, ten of which are choreographed by students, and runs Friday and Saturday in the Eastvold auditorium.

“It truly is a student production,” McGill said. “The students are mature, creative performers with lots of talent.”

After auditioning during the first week of spring semester, 64 students were selected to dance in the production. McGill said Dance Ensemble is one of the most highly attended events on campus each year after the Christmas concerts.

Students have incorporated diverse range of dance styles, including jazz, classical, hip-hop and Celtic into the production. Students have merged a variety of influences and interests into their choreography.

Two pieces by first-year choreographer Avalon Ragoonanan feature traditional Trinidadian dance. He will perform a solo dance co-choreographed by Sharon Pierre about slavery and a group piece featuring traditional Trinidadian costumes.

“This is my first year and I wanted to bring something new to the table,” Ragoonanan said. “So I wanted to bring something from home and see how people react to it.”

Senior Olivia Hustoff choreographed a piece incorporating American Sign Language. In addition, first-year transfer student Jasmine Wright choreographed a piece based on The Passion of the Christ while choreographer senior Kelsey Serier created a jazz routine to Adele’s “Rumor Has It.”

Performers said they see Dance 2012 as an opportunity to share their art with their fellow students.

“I would like the audience to realize that dance has a presence at PLU,” Serier said. “There are some really talented people here.”

The production celebrates dancers on campus and the importance of dance at PLU.

“I think a lot of dancers who come here don’t have time to continue their formal training because they have school, so this is a way that they can kind of have an outlet for creativity,” Wright said. “I didn’t realize how many people were dancers until I saw everyone here [at rehearsal].”

This will be the last production on Eastvold’s main stage before the building undergoes renovation. McGill choreographed the finale entitled “Disco Lives.” This montage of '70s music will commemorate Eastvold and the building’s upcoming transformation.

Tickets cost $5 for students and staff and $8 for general admission. They are available at the PLU concierge desk or at the door.