By: Abigail Chaff
Choreographers’ Workshop 2011 was a wonderful example of the ability and talent of students at The University of Akron.
Students produced, costumed and choreographed dance numbers that highlighted different kinds of dance from ballet to modern tap to jazz. All proceeds went to scholarships for undergraduate students.
“This student produced production shows what students can really do,” UA student Jaclyn Wloszek said.
Despite a 20-minute delay due to technical difficulties with the lighting system, the show was impressive. The false start, when the dancers started to dance with no lights, was comical, but also seemed like a waste of my time. When the production finally started, my opinion was changed of this student production. With upbeat, lively music, I was unable to stop myself from grooving in my seat, just a little.
The lighting, when it worked, was fantastic. The changes of color and brightness added to the intensity of each dance’s story, however unclear some of those stories seemed to be. Many of the dances appeared to have a dark side. On the stage, faces were angry, groups were secluded and outcasts huddled in the fetal position.
There was no consensus in the facial expressions of the dancers; some were smiling while others were frowning.
“I just wanted to capture the idea of fluid movement,” UA student and choreographer Kristen Pauken said when asked about her piece.
Most of the dances had much more to them than what was on the surface of their springy beats and a few smiling faces. None of the pieces were bad, but not having a clear direction that was easily discernible left me with questions as opposed to a feeling of satisfaction after seeing a beautiful, interesting dance.
Some numbers were extremely well done. “Without Purpose,” choreographed by UA student Emily Dowler, was very exciting. It picked up the entire night with lots of action and fun movement. The moves were fresh and upbeat. It was one of the few pieces that had a clear vision and wasn’t masked by some underlying, unspoken, dark point of view. “Getting Thru it All,” choreographed by UA student Kelsey Schilabaugh, was another high point of the evening. It also stood out as exciting and fun.
With all criticism aside, this production was a shining example of what young choreographers can accomplish. According to dancer and vice president of Terpsichore Lindsay Mulhollen, all of the groups had a shorter than usual rehearsal time. Terpsichore is the dance department’s official club.
“We usually have nine weeks to learn a routine, but for this we had only seven weeks, and most of the groups finished ahead of schedule,” Mulhollen said. Some of the dancers choreographed their own piece and also danced in others’.
“The vast variety in genres of dance and music shows the capabilities of the students,” student Alyssa Petsche said. It truly was impressive to see the dedication of these students and the time and effort put into such a shining performance.