Dance for the sake of dance

On the third floor of the Fine Arts dance building, a number of girls gather to practice their dance piece. They are dressed in sweat pants and tank tops; barefoot or in socks. Their hair is pulled back, and their faces are flush, as they wait to watch themselves perform in front of a mirror wall. The music starts, and the girls begin to move together like one machine. Soon their audience will consist not of their reflections but a theater full of people who have come to see the dancers’ creation.

Starting Friday, Student Dance Production will present Montage in Motion, a concert of original student dances.

The Student Dance Production is an organization revolving around an annual concert, this particular performance is unique because it is produced and organized by students. Michael Foley, a dance teacher and the faculty advisor of the Student Dance Production, only has one responsibility: Make sure the students stay on track.

“Basically, every person involved with the show is a student,” said Maria Juan, a performer and the public relations specialist of this year’s performance. “Students design the lighting and costumes, do the choreography, put the pieces together and choose the order of the show.”

Preliminary meetings were held in January to determine which girls wanted to choreograph their own dance pieces. After choreographers were determined, an open audition was held to select dancers for each piece.

“Anyone could come to the audition. It helped if you have dance background, but we do have non-dance majors performing this year,” Juan said.

Once the choreographers selected their dancers, practices were held through March, when each piece auditioned to be in the show. Judges were chosen by the students and brought in to decide on the pieces that would be in the concert.

Juan said this year’s concert includes 12 pieces, each by a different choreographer who had the freedom to produce any type of dance.

“In regular concerts, we focus on techniques and the theory of dance,” Amanda Szeglowski, a senior and choreographer, explained. “But with Student Dance Production, we can be more creative and do things that are not in the curriculum. It’s more dance just for dance.”

Juan said the Student Dance Production funds the performance by selling advertisements in the program or using the previous year’s leftover funds, but the performers also cover some costs.

“We really don’t have a lot of expenses, and each choreographer finds her own costumes and props,” Juan said.

For example, Szeglowski mentioned that she would provide her dancers with stockings, which are worn over tank tops like sleeves.

Because students produce Montage in Motion and it only shows for one weekend, it is the most anticipated concert of the year, Juan said.

“We always have a pretty good turnout. We usually have a full house at least one night, and every other show usually has a big crowd,” Juan said.

Aside from offering choreographers and dancers the opportunity to express themselves in their own work, Juan said, the Student Dance Production gives other students the chance to become acquainted with talent on campus and the art of dance.

“There is some kind of meaning behind it or something the choreographer wants to depict. He wants to give something of himself in his piece,” Juan said. “It’s open to interpretation, just like a painting or any other piece of art.”

Contact Rebecca Markleyat