Students from all levels of dance classes took to the stage to perform original pieces in the annual Student Choreography Show, which ran February 6 and 7 at the Fine Arts Center. Choreographing is the art of making dance sequences. All levels of dance do a choreography unit in Elissa Ericson and Haley Vago’s classes. In this unit, they learn about formal techniques behind choreography, what it takes to put a dance together in a way that flows and makes sense.
Students are required to make up their own dances, set to music of their choice. Some of these dances make it into the yearly show.
While the dancers have complete creative control over their routines, the concept for the dance and the music must be approved. Music, costumes, and stage lighting are all aspects the students have to put into play.
Since the majority of the dances were group pieces, the dancers had to be able to include everyone’s perspective.
“I think a lot of people have different visions for what they want a dance to look like, and being able to compromise with what other people wanted could be difficult,” said Arielle Nelson, a sophomore dancer.
Coming up with a routine that incorporates the creativity of each person is just a part of the choreographic process, it builds a strong team player which is a necessity in the real world.
“Concepts range from topics like falling in love, to more serious things like school shootings,” said Elissa Ericson, a dance teacher of 14 years.
Advanced and Company dancers are required to audition, but Intermediates have the choice whether they want to or not. Company and Advanced dancers have experience, whereas Intermediates are newer to the dance scene.
Dance has aesthetic value, as well as symbolic value, it is typically used to tell a story, portray a feeling, or even simply for pleasure.
“Our dance symbolizes the struggles of OCD, we started choreographing it before winter break,” said Eliya Rogoff, a sophomore.
The performers have roughly a month and a half to arrange and master their performances. Choreographing can be a long process in itself, it takes creativity and lots of thought to put a story into physical movement. The choreographers work with each other to create a sequence of moves that flow together.
“We use formats in our routine to help get a message across, our dance follows ABCA format,” said Rogoff.
The students choreograph their numbers in accordance with a certain format. Each letter of the format stands for a certain event/idea they want to portray in their routine, it also organizes the story and makes the choreographic process easier.
“This is all derived from student work,” said Ericson.
Every aspect of the show is fabricated by students, from the uniforms to the stage lights. The production allows the dancers to showcase the finished product of their hard work.