Posts Tagged ‘Dance & Movement Studies’

Orchesis: A Peek Behind the Curtain

Orchesis Dance Company has been performing its annual shows for years, and the group has grown from a small company into more than 100 members per year. The production is now an autumn tradition on the Allegheny campus, one of the most attended events each year. But what the audience doesn’t see is the months of work leading up to the two-hour final product.

It is one of the biggest productions on campus–this year it was staged on Nov. 8-11–and it begins a full year before the actual performances, on the nights of the previous year’s recital. Dancers arrive for the shows hours early, partly to get in costume and stage makeup, partly to stretch, and partly to vote on the next year’s board members. On the final night of performances, the last of the board positions are announced, and next year’s show is set in motion. (Choreographers pictured below)

The show begins to form in the spring, when members who have been part of the company for at least one year can propose choreography for a dance, with the elected board choosing which ones to include in the next year’s show.

In the fall, the audition process begins on a Saturday two weeks into the new academic year, a two-day process where every dancer who auditions is placed into at least one piece. By the following Monday, rehearsals begin and the dances start to develop. (Picture from auditions below)

Kalena Grimes ’19 has been in Orchesis for three years, and this was her second year as both the Historian board member as well as a choreographer. “As a board member, I feel as if I am able to give something back to the company after all that it has given me. I am able to make a difference in the company and help it grow each year to become more meaningful to all of the company members. Being a board member doesn’t allow me to brag or be boastful, but instead it allows for others to expect more from me. That alone motivates me to build the company to be as strong as possible.”

The choreographers have eight practices–one per week–to construct their pieces and get them show-ready. “You have to find a balance between the time it takes teaching choreography and the time you need to clean the dance, and depending on how long your piece is it can feel like a rush to the finish line,” says choreographer Gavi Winer ’18. (Picture from the final dress rehearsal below)

Every aspect of the show is student-designed–the choreographers pick out costumes, student tech members run the sound and lights, and the Orchesis board manages every aspect of the promotion and logistics of the show–creating posters, ordering costumes, handling news releases, scheduling the various dress rehearsals. The final show is entirely a group effort, and it shows in the pride that every member feels in presenting their work to the audience.

The week leading up to the shows is when costumes are worn, stage makeup is layered on, and the lighting cues are set, and suddenly the show feels real. Anticipation builds until the first show night–Wednesday, the Community Show, where professors, Allegheny staff, and the Meadville community get the first look at the production. (Below is the group photo from Carissa Lange’s ’80s Mashup piece)

“When I see my dance on stage I feel proud and accomplished,” says Grimes. “My dancers have brought my vision to life the past two years and I couldn’t have wished for a better outcomes. The dancers are very dedicated so the costumes and lighting simply enhance their incredible talents. Orchesis is an outlet for me, one that allows for me to interact with a rather large group of incredibly talented humans. I am forever grateful for each and every person that orchesis has given me. I am thankful for each rehearsal, performance and every other experience I have had because of Orchesis. It is so much more than a dance company to me, it is an additional 90 or more people that I consider to be family.”

Emma Wasko is a first-year student, and says her favorite part of the process was getting to meet and bond with people sharing the same love of dance. “As a freshmen, you’re coming into life at college knowing no one and scared out of your mind, so it’s nice to meet other people who you can actually get along with,” she says. “When I auditioned, as soon as I walked into the auditorium, everyone was SO nice, optimistic, and welcoming. Auditions went well, and I ended up making it into three pieces! It was also a great opportunity to meet upperclassmen, who gave great advice about Allegheny and about life, honestly.” (Pictured below is Emma Wasko in Toni Donofrio’s piece “Lay Me Down”)


Performance Photos by Ed Mailliard; Rehearsal Photos by Laura Allston. Click on photos in the performance gallery above to enlarge them.

Orchesis Dance Company Annual Recital

The Orchesis Dance Company will hold its annual dance recital with four shows Nov. 8-11 in Allegheny College’s Shafer Auditorium. The Nov. 8 performance at 7 p.m. is the designated Community Premier Show for members of the Meadville community and Allegheny faculty and staff. The shows on Nov. 9-11 start at 8 p.m. All shows are free and open to the public.

The production is entirely student-run, from choreography to stage setup, and has been one of the most attended events on campus.

Orchesis Dance Company Stages Annual Recital

The Orchesis Dance Company will hold its annual dance recital with four shows Nov. 8-11 in Allegheny College’s Shafer Auditorium. The Nov. 8 performance at 7 p.m. is the designated Community Premier Show for members of the Meadville community and Allegheny faculty and staff. The shows on Nov. 9-11 start at 8 p.m. All shows are free and open to the public.

The production is entirely student-run, from choreography to stage setup, and has been one of the most attended events on campus. Students begin with choreography proposals in the spring of the previous year, and then in the fall hold open auditions for each piece. Every student who auditions is guaranteed one dance, to make the organization as inclusive as possible. Once each student has been cast, the choreographers have eight weeks of rehearsals to construct their pieces and get them performance-ready. (more…)

Community Ballroom Dance Classes to Begin

Allegheny College’s Dance and Movement Studies program will offer community ballroom dance lessons beginning Monday, Aug. 28.
Classes will be taught by Dance and Movement Studies faculty Betsy Sumerfield and will be held in the Montgomery Performance Space on Mondays. Class for beginners will run from 6:45 to 8 p.m.; class for experienced dancers will run from 7:45 to 9 p.m. The cost is $60 per person or $100 per couple for a total of 10 lessons. Participants should wear either socks or ballroom shoes. For more information, please call (814) 332-2813.

Dance Minors’ Concert

The Dance and Movement Studies Program will hold its annual concert on April 28 at 7 p.m. to showcase pieces directed by various dance-minor students. The concert will be held in the Montgomery Performance Space, and is free and open to the public.

Allegheny to Host Dance Minors’ Concert

The Dance and Movement Studies Program will hold its annual concert on April 28 at 7 p.m. to showcase pieces directed by various dance-minor students. The concert will be held in the Montgomery Performance Space, and is free and open to the public.

The concert is titled “You. Me. Us.,” a play on the phrase “me, myself, and I,” to address the theme of relationships – whether familial, romantic, or otherwise. Each piece is designed and choreographed independently by dance minors, so a variety of styles and perspectives are included in the show. The concert allows students the freedom to explore the styles and techniques that draw them, and each year’s production has a different texture to it depending on who is involved and what is brought to the floor.
(more…)

Spring Dance Concert

The Allegheny College Dance and Movement Studies Program will present its annual Spring Dance Concert in the Montgomery Performance Space at 7:30 p.m. April 6-8, Thursday to Saturday. The concert is free and open to the public, but reservations are recommended.

This year’s concert showcases students in several styles of dance, including ballet, ballroom, and modern.  Many of the dances will feature live music provided by local musicians, including John Hyatt and members of the college faculty band Credit/No Credit.

Reservations can be made through the Dance and Movement Studies office by calling (814) 332-2813.

Allegheny College Presents Annual Spring Dance Concert

The Allegheny College Dance & Movement Studies Program will present its annual Spring Dance Concert in the Montgomery Performance Space at 7:30 p.m. April 6-8, Thursday to Saturday. The concert is free and open to the public, but reservations are recommended.
This year’s concert showcases students in several styles of dance, including ballet, ballroom, and modern.  Many of the dances will feature live music provided by local musicians, including John Hyatt and members of the college faculty band Credit/No Credit.
(more…)

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.

Cookies and Milk

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.