Choreography showcase exhibits student creativity and talent

Maggie Brickner

The New Voices in Choreography showcase, a compilation of works created by students in the Topics in Choreography class displayed the culmination of work that its students prepared for at least a term. Taught by Visiting Professor in Dance Rebecca Salzer, the class’ performance featured dances that were choreographed and performed by a variety of Lawrence students Tuesday, May 8 and Wednesday, May 9.

The short, yet richly diverse, collection of dances portrayed a variety of dance styles from swing, to hip-hop, to different forms of contemporary dance.  Each performance was entirely separate from the others because it was a personal piece created by each individual dancer. 

The majority of students who performed in the show were enrolled in Salzer’s class; however, there were some exceptions. All Lawrentians were invited to audition for several open spots in the program.

A swing dance performed by a couple from Lawrence Swing Dance and a solo dance by junior Renee Kargleder were two additional performances accepted into the show.

The dancers performed their choreography to the sound of a variety of other art forms: recorded music, live didgeridoos, short readings and even a video montage of Marilyn Monroe.

The performances portrayed a wide variety of emotions and interests. Sophomore Devin Burri’s dance portrayed the story of a broken friendship, while freshman Jenny Angeli’s solo revolved around the iconology of Marilyn Monroe.

The students themselves choreographed their dances throughout the term, performing what they had been working on each week for their class and then making slight adjustments. For most, this was their first time choreographing, and for many, it was their first time dancing.

Salzer was extremely pleased with the final outcome of the performance: “The students just really embraced it, and the choreography class itself now just feels much more advanced all of a sudden. They’ve done the work of conceiving of something, developing it, and the understanding that it doesn’t have its full life in the performing arts until it’s performed.” 

The students also got an immense reward from performing their work. Sophomore Vicky Jhong Chung loved the performance experience, and said, “It was really nice to be in the dressing room waiting for your performance because we supported each other.”

She and the other performers were extremely excited to see the large number of people in attendance. Overall, the program was well-received, drawing audience members from the both the Lawrence and Appleton communities.

The audience at Wednesday’s performance was a full house. Many faculty members could be seen in the audience, including President Jill Beck. 

Salzer was encouraged by the faculty presence, “I think for them to see their students in a completely different context than they’re used to seeing them is really great. I could tell that they were really inspired to see their students’ stretching out more.”

Next year, Salzer plans to teach the choreography course during winter term and hopes to provide these students with the opportunity to perform in multiple showcase performances.

She hopes to continue to see “students really taking some risks and pushing themselves outside of their comfort zones, which is what college is for and what studying art of any kind in college is for.”