As the end of the semester looms, various departments here at St. Olaf are working hard on end-of-semester showcases. The dance department is no different, preparing for “Creatures of Habit,” the senior dance concert. There will be three performances: Dec. 8, 9 and 10 at 7:30 p.m. in Kelsey Theater, with doors opening at 7:00 p.m. (no ticket required). In addition, the Thursday performance will be streamed live and archived.
The annual concert is part of the senior dance major capstone. Students submit written proposals for their projects during their junior year, work closely with faculty members, and have the opportunity to share their specialties with the St. Olaf community. Students have the freedom to focus on any area of dance they choose, from performance to choreography, to blending dance with other disciplines, such as visual art or music. Therefore, the senior dance concert is not always performance-based or choreography-based, as one might think, but varies in style from year to year.
Four of the five senior dance majors are performing in the concert. (The fifth, Gabby Dominique ’17, choreographed this fall’s productions of “Die Fledermaus” and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” for her project.) Jacob Borg ’17 and Chloe Chambers ’17 are performing solos choreographed by guest artists. Borg’s piece explores the journey of his life and the concept of home, utilizing expressive dance and text spoken in his native language of Maltese. It is choreographed by Gustavus Adolphus College dance professor Jill Patterson. Chambers will perform a dance called “The Architect,” choreographed by Mathew Janczewski, artistic director of the Minneapolis dance company ARENA Dances. Meanwhile, Julia Bassett ’17 and Shaina Andres ’17 have choreographed their own pieces, which will be performed by two groups of people. Bassett’s piece is entitled “The Edge of Somewhere,” and Andres has created a “movement-based, highly kinetic choreography project,” according to dance professor Heather Klopchin.
By participating in the senior dance concert, dancers will gain solid performing or choreography experience, a cornerstone of any dance program. In addition, their projects are shown on a formal stage with costumes and stage lighting. As for the audience, they will have the pleasure of watching a good show. But there is even more value for attendees than the show itself, according to Borg.
“The purpose of the senior dance concert is to share our artistic work with the rest of the community with the goal that the art created speaks to the attending audience,” Borg said. “The audience can find this art presented very easy to understand, whilst others leave the concert with more questions about the dances presented than they had before they watched them. Above all, we hope that the audience enjoys themselves whilst we proudly present our works.”
Members of the St. Olaf dance faculty echoed these sentiments. “The senior dance concert provides an opportunity to share the talents and hard work of our senior dance majors,” professor of dance Janice Roberts said. “I think the audience will find the 2016 senior dance concert an exciting, rich concert that fully highlights our wonderful students.”
“This year’s Senior Concert ‘Creatures of Habit’ promises to be an exciting, moving, thought provoking culmination of these senior dance majors’ journeys over the last three and a half years,” said Klopchin.
Even though the senior dance concert will be streamed and archived, you should definitely be sure to catch “Creatures of Habit” if you can. Dance is a physical art that should be seen in person to be appreciated. The beauty and presentation of the artistic works of the four students will arm you with warmth on a cold winter’s night. Don’t miss out.