Choreographers get creative during COVID-19

By Emma Russell

Student Life Editor

COVID-19 has forced many different disciplines of art to move to a virtual format. For some disciplines such as music and acting this hasn’t been made too difficult, but how is dance, an art known for is physicality, supposed to successfully transfer over to a virtual format?

 According to the Department of Theatre and Dance website, Dancescape is a way to “reflect the diversity of our world and of the Washington College community through the inclusion of various dance styles and choreographic voices.”

This year’s Dancescape will be an all-virtual event featuring choreography from alumni and students alike.

Even in film, it is hard to capture all the precise movements and facial expressions of the dancers. This is a concern of Caitlyn Creasey ’19, an alumna who was invited back to choreograph in this year’s Dancescape.

This is now her second-year choreographing for Dancescape. Creasey said she was reached out to by this year’s concert director Caroline Cox ’19, asking if she wanted to choreograph.

“I was like absolutely. I’ll do anything to keep the dance department alive. I love WC so that’s what I’m doing,” Creasey said.

Creasey has had experience teaching dance via Zoom at the dance studio To The Pointe, located in Ridgely Md., and is ready to take on the challenge.

Last semester Creasey took dance composition with Assitant Professor of Dance Moffett -more affectionately referred to by students as A.T.- and when the semester was disrupted and students were sent home she had to finish her dance final and film it.

Rather than be disappointed by the task, Creasey used it as a time to experiment with film editing, filming bits of the dance before changing clothes or location and editing it together to create one fluid dance.

“I think there’s a lot of ways to play around with the video and recording aspect of it, so yeah I do see the silver lining in [Dancescape being virtual],” Creasey said.

Another choreographer, sophomore Faithlin Hunter, like most WC students was disappointed when it was announced that students would not be returning to campus this semester.

Hunter originally had an idea for a dance, but it would have included partner work and close formations, which she then had to change for something more spread out, to meet social distancing guidelines. When it was announced that the campus was closed Hunter realized she was going to have to rework her choreography once again.

“So it’s kind of just working around what I have, and what I think my dancers would have,” said Hunter.

Many dance studios have used the same train of thought, by either implementing strict social distancing guidelines by marking the floor and requiring dancers to wear masks or  moving to an entirely online format.

“I know it’s sad cause like the arts definitely took the biggest hit with all this happening because the arts are so important for people to be entertained and find happiness, but it’s also the hardest time to try and do stuff because we’re trying so hard to innovate new ways to do it,” said Hunter.

A good support system can make all the difference when it comes to influencing one’s experiences with the arts, and senior Parker Wolf is very grateful to the amazing people and teachers she’s met within the dance program.

“I am so glad I have gotten to know and have been able to work with them over the past three years,” she said.

Wolf said “[Dancescape being virtual] definitely has posed to be a great challenge to choreograph online. However, I have received a lot of guidance from my teachers and others in the dance program.”

This is Wolf’s first-time choreographing for Dancescape. She’s a dance minor who has been dancing since she was in third grade.

Rather than spend time being disappointed in the state of current circumstances, Wolf set to work, setting aside a space meant specifically for dance in her house and setting up her game plan to record her dance.

“I then plan to use iMovie to pair the music, voice-overs, and pre-recording of the dance in order to create a virtual video of my dance for this year’s Dancescape,” Wolf said.

The Dancescape videos are set to be released sometime at the end of November, but the exact date has yet to be finalized.

Featured Photo caption: Dancers from last year’s Dancescape, performed in Decker Theater. Photo courtesy of Paul Gillespie Photography.

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