Dance Club hosts first in-person concert since 2019

By Heather Fabritze
Elm Staff Writer

On April 22 and April 23, the Washington College Dance Club performed in their annual Spring Concert to showcase the pieces they worked on over the past semester.

The concert was made up of two showings in Decker Theatre – one showing at 6 p.m. on Friday and another showing at noon on Saturday. The event was open to the WC and Chestertown community. Admission was free, though donations to the Dance Club were encouraged.

Attendees, who could register for a ticket via EventBrite, had the opportunity to participate in a 50/50 raffle for a cash prize.

The concert featured a cello performance by Musician’s Union Vice President and sophomore Sarah Poirer. WACappella also performed “Rocket Man” by Elton John and “Walking on Sunshine,” by Katrina and the Waves. According to the EventBrite page, this collaboration was intended to “showcase the diversity of talent” on campus.

Dance Club also accomplished this goal by employing almost entirely student choreographers. Senior Hannah Henderson and juniors Faithlin Hunter, Andrea Petersen, and Sneha Dixit led various club classes and choreographed pieces that were seen in the concert.

One guest choreographer, Elena Manakhova, also choreographed a piece.

The concert featured seven separate dance styles, including contemporary, pointe, musical theatre, lyrical, jazz, and kathak.

Hunter, who choreographed a contemporary piece to “Born and Raised” by John Mayer, recommends her class to any students who enjoy “intricate” storytelling.

“As a choreographer, I have always enjoyed the storytelling aspect of dance and I wanted to use this piece to convey the idea of a ‘found family,’” Hunter said. “Through dance, we explore the relationship with ourselves and how we learn to rely on others when we need support.”

The Dance Club relied on one another this semester, particularly regarding complications from COVID-19. According to Dance Club President junior Paleena Amy, the pandemic “knocked out” three years of fundraising, resulting in budgeting issues.

Petersen, who choreographed and taught a musical theater piece, “A Little Party,” and a contemporary piece, “Down” by Jason Walker also faced issues in teaching classes due to COVID-19.

“COVID-19 has made dancing and performing in large-sized groups very difficult, but we are slowly starting to get more comfortable dancing with each other again,” Petersen said.

All of the dance pieces in the concert were groups, other than a solo kathak piece performed by Dixit.

Kathak, one of the classical dance forms of India, focuses on a different kind of storytelling.

“It places heavy emphasis on storytelling using facial expressions and hand gestures,” Dixit said. “It’s also not as taxing on the body as ballet. So, it’s great fun for people who want to study a unique classical dance form but want something that’s light on their bodies.”

Every spring semester, the Dance Club plans a weekly schedule of various dance classes in the Johnson Fitness Center. While some of these classes are more recreational, anyone who wants to get involved in the concert has the option.

Amy encourages WC students who find themselves inspired by the concert to consider joining in the spring 2023 semester.

“Dance is an amazing expression of self, a therapeutic time in your week to wind down, and a great way to exercise,” Amy said. “Through this, I’ve also felt so connected to this campus. We’re rebuilding the foundation for this show that will continue years after I leave WC. We’re giving and leaving the gift of performance to this college.”

All proceeds or donations made at the concert go toward funding future concerts and performances.

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