Allegheny College Dance and Movement Studies Program To Offer Ballroom Dancing Classes

Allegheny College’s Dance and Movement Studies program will be offering a series of community ballroom lessons starting on Monday, Jan. 16. Classes will be taught by Dance and Movement Studies faculty Betsy Sumerfield and will be held in the Montgomery Performance Space on Mondays from 6:45 to 8 p.m.

Cost is $60 per person or $100 per couple for a total of 10 lessons. Participants are asked to wear socks or ballroom shoes.

For more information, call 814-332-2813.

Source: http://sites.allegheny.edu/news/tag/dance-movement-studies-3/

Cookies and Milk

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Allegheny College’s Dance and Movement Studies Program will present its annual holiday Cookies and Milk concert, especially for families and children, on Sunday, Dec. 4, with performances at 2 and 4 p.m. in the Montgomery Performance Space. Refreshments will be served between shows at 3 p.m. in the Campus Center lobby.’

Allegheny students from Dance and Movement Studies classes will perform routines of various styles, including modern, tap, and ballet. The class Landscapes of the Body will use audience participation in a piece called “Popcorn” and invite children to come onstage to act out the process of making popcorn. The tap class, DMS 105, will perform rhythmic tap in a narrative dance that culminates in a modern pointe piece choreographed by student Meaghan Gilbert.

The Jazz Dance Ensemble (JaDE), a student-run dance team, will perform a routine as well. Continuing with tradition, the local dance studios Allegro and Movement Unlimited are also performing pieces in the show, the latter choreographed by Allegheny students.

“The show is an opportunity for Allegheny students to share their performance skills with the Meadville community, and for all to come together during the holiday season,” said Eleanor Weisman, director of the Dance and Movement Studies Department.

In keeping with the holiday spirit of giving, there will be a collection box for new, unwrapped toys to benefit the Toys for Tots drive. A community group, Creating Landscapes for Families, will provide cookies during the intermission.

The concert is free and open to the public. Call the Dance and Movement Studies office at (814) 332-2813 to make a reservation.

Source: http://sites.allegheny.edu/news/tag/dance-movement-studies-3/

Allegheny Dance Program to Host Cookies and Milk Holiday Concert

Allegheny College’s Dance and Movement Studies Program will present its annual holiday Cookies and Milk concert, especially for families and children, on Sunday, Dec. 4, with performances at 2 and 4 p.m. in the Montgomery Performance Space. Refreshments will be served between shows at 3 p.m. in the Campus Center lobby.

Allegheny students from Dance and Movement Studies classes will perform routines of various styles, including modern, tap, and ballet. The class Landscapes of the Body will use audience participation in a piece called “Popcorn” and invite children to come onstage to act out the process of making popcorn. The tap class, DMS 105 will perform rhythmic tap in a narrative dance that culminates in a modern pointe piece choreographed by student Meaghan Gilbert.

The Jazz Dance Ensemble (JaDE), a student-run dance team, will perform a routine as well. Continuing with tradition, the local dance studios Allegro and Movement Unlimited are also performing pieces in the show, the latter choreographed by Allegheny students.

“The show is an opportunity for Allegheny students to share their performance skills with the Meadville community, and for all to come together during the holiday season,” said Eleanor Weisman, director of the Dance and Movement Studies Department.

In keeping with the holiday spirit of giving, there will be a collection box for new, unwrapped toys to benefit the Toys for Tots drive. A community group, Creating Landscapes for Families, will provide cookies during the intermission.

The concert is free and open to the public. Call the Dance and Movement Studies office at (814) 332-2813 to make a reservation.

Source: http://sites.allegheny.edu/news/tag/dance-movement-studies-3/

Brown, Raether, Roncolato and Weisman present at GLAA conference

Caitlin Brown ’17; Jonah Raether ’18; Dave Roncolato, director of the Office of Civic Engagement in the Gateway; and Eleanor Weisman, associate professor of Dance and Movement Studies, represented Allegheny College at the GLAA Conference “Civic Engagement & the Liberal Arts” in Kalamazoo, Mich., Oct. 23-25.

Weisman introduced Brown and Raether, who presented on their work as Allegheny Community Engagement Student (ACES) Fellows as part of an international panel on “Students as Colleagues”. Roncolato and Raether collaborated with colleagues from DePauw University on a workshop “Short-term International Community Engagement: The Challenges and Opportunities.” Allegheny Provost and Director of the Allegheny Gateway Terry Bensel, served on the planning committee for the conference.

Source: http://sites.allegheny.edu/news/tag/dance-movement-studies-3/

Orchesis Dance Company Presents Annual Recital

The Orchesis Dance Company will present its annual recital — with four performances — beginning on Wednesday, Nov. 9, in Allegheny College’s Shafer Auditorium.

The first performance, on Nov. 9 at 8 p.m., is the designated Community Premiere Show for members of the Meadville community and Allegheny faculty and staff. Additional performances will be held at 8 p.m. on Nov. 11 and 12 and at noon on Nov. 13. All shows are all free and open to the public.

The student-led recital features various dance forms such as jazz, tap, ballet, hip hop, ballroom and contemporary, and is historically one of the most attended events on campus. Students design every aspect of the show, including choreography, lighting and costumes. The performers rehearse one hour per week for nine weeks in preparation, in addition to dress and technical rehearsals leading up to the show.

“Each piece this year brings elements of entertainment and creativity to the show,” Orchesis President Meaghan Gilbert said. “I hope that the Allegheny and Meadville community will come to see how all our hard work has come together.”

Orchesis gives students the chance to become involved with Allegheny’s dance program and to connect with other performers and audience members. Each student who auditions for the company is guaranteed at least one dance in the recital.

Source: http://sites.allegheny.edu/news/tag/dance-movement-studies-3/

Spring Dance Concert 2016

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The Allegheny College Dance & Movement Studies Program will present its annual Spring Dance Concert, You Are Here, Now, in the Montgomery Performance Space at 7:30 pm on April 14, 15, and 16, 2016. This year’s concert showcases students in several styles of dance, including Ballet, Ballroom, Jazz, and Modern.

The concert is titled You Are Here, Now as part of the College’s 2016 theme, “The Year of Meadville.” The first act will pay tribute to the local area with live music directed by John Hyatt. The act closes with a collaborative choreographic effort by DMS faculty Betsy Sumerfield and Eleanor Weisman.

The second section of the concert features a reconstruction of a popular piece choreographed by Betsy Sumerfield, Between Here and There. Both dancers in the piece and the audience will be left breathless by the energy of the piece. In addition, the Ballroom III students will perform several styles of social dance.

The Spring Concert is free and open to the public, but reservations are recommended. Call the DMS office at 814-332-2813 for more information or to make a reservation.

Community Ballroom Lessons to Begin at Allegheny College

Jan. 4, 2016 — The Dance and Movement Studies program at Allegheny College will be offering community ballroom lessons on Monday evenings beginning on January 18.

Classes will be taught by Dance and Movement Studies faculty member Betsy Sumerfield in the Montgomery Performance Space on the Allegheny campus.

A class for beginners will be held from 6:45 to 8 p.m., and a class for more experienced dancers will be held from 7:45 to 9 p.m. The cost for a total of 10 lessons is $60 per person or $100 per couple.

Participants should plan either to wear ballroom shoes or to dance in their socks.

To register or for more information, call 814-332-2813.

Source: http://sites.allegheny.edu/news/tag/dance-movement-studies-3/

Cookies & Milk Holiday Concert 2015

Allegheny College’s Dance and Movement Studies Program presents its annual holiday concert, Cookies and Milk, for families and children on Sunday, December 6, 2015 with performances at 2:00 pm and 4:00 pm in the Montgomery Performance Space. Refreshments will be served at 3:00 pm in the Campus Center Lobby.

The concert this year fits in well with the College’s theme, “The Year of Meadville”. Local bakers who are members of Creating Landscapes for Families will be providing the cookies served this year. In addition two groups of dancers who are students at Movement Unlimited here in Meadville will be performing in the concert. The instructors for those students are Allegheny students Casey Freed and Lauren Winterberg demonstrating the unique collaborative relationships between the College and the Meadville Community.

Allegheny College students from the Jazz, Modern, and Tang Soo Do courses will perform in the concert as well as the student jazz dance group JaDE. Another highlight of the concert will be two opportunities for audience involvement. Meadville’s own creative writer Roberta Levine will narrate for the Modern dance students’ performance and will invite children to join in the story. Local musician and MAMS faculty member John Hyatt will work with Allegheny students in setting a winter scene with additional help from audience members. In keeping with the seasonal spirit of giving, there will be a collection box for Toys for Tots at the concert. Audience members can demonstrate appreciation for the entertainment by contributing new, unwrapped toys to be gifted to a child who might otherwise not receive holiday presents.

The concert is free and open to the public. Call the Dance and Movement Studies office (814) 332-2813 to make a reservation.

Spring Dance Concert 2015

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April 9, 10, 11, 2015
Montgomery Performance Space
7:00 pm

The Allegheny College Dance & Movement Studies Program will present its annual Spring Dance Concert in the Montgomery Performance Space at 7:00 pm on April 9, 10, and 11, 2015.  This year’s concert will be an eclectic mix of genres, including Betsy Sumerfield’s advanced Ballroom students performing four short dances that progress from Speed Dating to The Proposal, The Wedding, and ending in Celebration.

Sumerfield also offers a new piece based on childhood experiences of education in the era of No Child Left Behind.  Four musicians join John Hyatt to perform original music live for this work, Sumerfield’s Nen Iuvenis.

James Reedy will present an expanded version of a solo choreographed last year for student Kassandra Krason.  This year other performers will join Kassandra to create more images of Crossing.  Live music will accompany the piece this year.

Eleanor Weisman and guest artist Jay Hanes will perform a duet inspired by John Dewey’s themes of the aesthetic process.  Their piece Compress, Impulse, Express includes Hanes on the cornet and the creation of visual documentation of their work during the performance.   Weisman also worked with ten students to create the piece Earth Potential that incorporates unique body sock costumes that create strange shapes on stage.  Earth Potential presents a look at underground activity of a newly discovered protein glomalin that helps to sequester carbon in the soil.

Other dances in the concert include a solo by recent Allegheny graduate Angela Adusah and a performance by Gretchen Myers Ballet class.  The Spring Concert is free and open to the public, but reservations are recommended.  Call the DMS office at 814-332-2813 for more information or to make a reservation.

Photo by Matt Rick

Psyched to Dance

Alumnus Discovers Unknown Passion at Allegheny

It was 2007 – the first semester of Carlos Blandino-Lopez’s freshman year.

Thinking that he someday wanted to be a doctor, he walked into the David V. Wise Sport & Fitness Center preparing to register only for neuroscience classes.

At that time, the course registration process “was like a school fair,” Blandino-Lopez says, with students walking from table to table learning about the different classes available.

That’s when Tom Erdos, a former dance and movement studies faculty member, motioned Blandino-Lopez over to his table. He said he needed more men in his ballroom class.

“I thought sure, why not?” Blandino-Lopez says as he jotted down his name on the Introduction to Ballroom roster.

Unbeknownst to him, the moment changed his life.

“We learned the six major dances in that course, and I found out that I had a knack for dance,” says Blandino-Lopez, who originally is from Anchorage, Alaska, but now lives in Pittsburgh. “I was hooked.”

A (Dance) Step in the Right Direction
With his new passion ignited, Blandino-Lopez filled his schedule with dance classes each semester at Allegheny. During his collegiate career, he also completed independent studies focusing on dance, worked as a teacher’s assistant for ballroom classes, and choreographed performances for the College and community.

In addition, Blandino-Lopez worked with other classmates to produce a surprise performance for Professor Erdos. “The entire production was student-run. We worked on it for a full semester,” he says. “We performed 16 pieces with all different types of dance. Professor Erdos had no idea.”

Blandino-Lopez’s love for dance continued to grow – and he began thinking about how he could continue his passion after graduation. That’s when a coach from Arthur Murray Dance Centers in Miami visited his class.

“She took me aside and told me I could do this as a career,” says Blandino-Lopez, who also was involved in the Bonner program, the Association of Black Collegians/Association for the Advancement of Black Culture, Union Latina, and Orchesis at Allegheny. “That really piqued my interest.”

The following year, the Allegheny senior found himself traveling to Pittsburgh for a job interview with Arthur Murray Dance Centers. Shortly after, he landed a position there as a dance instructor – a job he still enjoys today.

“As a teacher, I love seeing how confidence builds in people,” he says. “Even in college, there were people in my classes who were awkward and really didn’t interact with others. Then they would dance and develop confidence. My passion for dance is fueled by the excitement of seeing people learn.”

Story through Dance
One of the best parts about teaching, Blandino-Lopez says, is being a part of people’s stories. He cites one of his students, an 88-year-old man named Howard, as an example.

“Howard has Alzheimer’s, and the studio is the only place where he gets a sense of normalcy,” he says. “He’s deteriorating in every other aspect of his life, but on some level, he’s progressing here.”

Another student, 74-year-old Judy, was a teacher at Arthur Murray when she was 18.

“It’s so great to talk with her about how things have changed,” he says. “She met her husband through dancing, and now she does it for her own self-confidence and exercise. She told me this is her reason for getting dressed up and leaving the house.

“Over the years, I’ve learned that very few people come here to learn to dance,” he continues. “They come here for something deeper.”

Dance also has affected Blandino-Lopez’s personal life. He met his wife, Elizabeth, while salsa dancing.

“I asked her to dance and she said no,” he says. “Luckily I had the confidence to eventually get her to say yes.”

Although dance was a major focus for Blandino-Lopez at Allegheny – even becoming his minor during his senior year – he continued studying neuroscience, graduating in 2011 with a double major in neuroscience and psychology. He believes this foundation is still applicable to his current profession.

“I’ve always been fascinated with the brain. The reason I came to Allegheny was because I knew it was one of the best in the country for neuroscience,” he says. “It’s really helped me now because I understand the physiological process of how learning works. As a teacher, that foundation helps me to have more patience and understanding with my students.”

Eventually, Blandino-Lopez would like to revisit the connections among neuroscience, psychology, and ballroom dance.

“My senior comp was on ballroom dance and psychological androgyny. I’d like to do more research around ballroom dancing in general,” he says. “A study I read said dancing frequently can reduce your risk for dementia by 76 percent. I’d like to dig into that someday.”