Dance Concert Showcases Campus Talent
The powerful passion for the arts can exist everywhere and in everyone. This year’s DanceArts concert, The Power of the Arts, presented by the Saint Mary’s Dance Ensemble Workshop (DEW) explores the power of dance, design, music, and spoken word by Saint Mary's College faculty, staff, and students. Joining forces with other departments in the visual and performing arts, the concert features the talents of campus choreographers, professors, production and costume designers, vocalists, instrumentalists, and student dancers.
DEW functions as the student dance company in residence for the Saint Mary’s dance minor and presents an annual concert in the spring. Dancers audition for the company and meet on a regular basis for rehearsals with faculty and guest choreographers. Members of DEW often participate in productions by the Program in Theatre and other student-run clubs and events. This year's company includes 15 dancers from across a variety of majors, yet all with one shared passion for dance.
Michele Foust, professor in the Program in Dance since 2007, leads as artistic director for the concert. Foust said she was grateful for the participation of the theatre, music, and communication studies programs in last year’s concert, Moving History: A Journey in Dance. “I knew that I wanted to continue building those relationships and also invite performers from other programs throughout the college,” she said.
Because the concert features talent from so many areas of campus, the process is highly collaborative. Even before a dance makes it on stage, choreographers, dancers, and designers work together to take a theme from concept to completion. Melissa Bialko, professional specialist in costume design, says her challenge is to “convey emotion through the costumes, while facilitating safety and movement for the dancers.” Her inspiration may come from movement, music, or just intuition.
Similarly, Michaela Duffy, professional specialist in production design, finds inspiration from the feeling and style of the choreography and music. “The style creates a script that influences the design and overall production,” she said. Duffy is exploring backdrops with drastically different textures, colors, and values rather than simply lighting the cyclorama in the theater for this production.
Other contributors for this concert come from all corners of campus. Sarah Noonan, professor in the department of English, is reciting “Bede’s Story of Caedmon.” This 7th century poem is one of the earliest that exists in Old English and is the earliest poem attributed to a named poet. Noonan’s recitation showcases the diversity of the performing arts on campus. Additional contributions to the concert will come from dancers, and staff members themselves. This year’s guest choreographer, Elyse Paul ’20, is a staff member in Campus and Community Events; Zae Munn, professor in the department of music, will lend one of her music compositions as accompaniment; music and political science major Julia Zusi ’24 will be singing live during one of the pieces; and students Meara Mahoney ’22 and Sarah Watson ’24 will perform a duet on the flute in addition to dancing in a number of pieces. The 15 dancers of DEW all represent diverse majors of study, from nursing to English literature.
The diversity among contributors plays a distinct role in the success of the concert, creating a beautiful medley of art, ideas, and dance.
To learn more about this event and other upcoming campus events, click here.