Dickinson will invite students back for the spring. Campus buildings are closed and face coverings are required on campus.
by JC Sosa-Soto '21
The performing arts have always been dependent on interaction and the ways in which individuals can use their skills and talents to put together a master project. This is at the core of disciplines, groups and organizations that focus on singing, dancing or acting. The entire foundation of a choir or a dance team is its ability to put together a piece that is in sync and not only showcases individual talents but also amplifies the group’s gifts.
This is the challenge the Dance Theatre Group (DTG) is facing this fall. One of Dickinson’s several dance groups, DTG’s focus is on modern/postmodern stylistic dancing. It is a co-curricular program of the Department of Theatre & Dance, providing students with in-depth training through weekly open classes, rehearsals and performance opportunities throughout the semester.
President Emily McFerran ’21, double major in biochemistry & molecular biology and dance, and Vice President Madison Mehlman ’21, double major in sociology and dance, have worked closely with their executive board to ensure that they have as successful a semester as ever. Together, they and their faculty advisors, Associate Professor of Dance and Director of Dance Sarah Skaggs and Visiting Instructor in Dance Erin Crawley-Woods, evaluated the shortcomings that resulted from last semester’s shutdown and outlined that the key to DTGs success would come from creating authentic interactions between the dancers.
“This semester there was consensus around wanting to connect with other dancers, to have a sense of community and to stay active and keep dancing. So that's what is guiding us in this current moment,” says Crawley-Woods.
DTG has been facilitating these interactions by offering open classes online twice a week to all of their dancers, just as they did when they were back on campus. They have also discovered that being completely virtual offers an opportunity to do some things they haven’t been able to do before.
“Since classes are being taught virtually, we can bring in guest artists from different places, who just have to log in to Zoom rather than travel all the way to Carlisle,” explains McFerran.
Their hard work will culminate in their end of semester showcase on Nov. 20. Visiting artists Brian Frazier and Jungeun (J.e.) Kim are each working on dance pieces. While Frazier is working on a hip-hop/contemporary piece, Kim is collaborating with the Dickinson Choir, who will be singing Meredith Monk’s piece, “Earth Seen from Above from Atlas.” Other members of DTG are also working on the Quilt Project, an interdisciplinary creative experiment with Visiting Assistant Professor of Theatre & Dance Karie Miller.
The Nov. 20 performances will be livestreamed at www.TheVivariumSpace.com (select the “Theater” space). The broadcast can also be accessed through the department’s Facebook and YouTube accounts, but the audience will only be able to see the live feed itself. Through the website, viewers will be able check out the other rooms and see the process as well as the performance to see what has gone into the production.
Published October 21, 2020