Students choreograph, perform and stream fall dance concert

W&L Repertory Dance Company’s annual fall showcase “W&L Dancers Create…” was pre-recorded and streamed online this year

Virginia Laurie

A performance called “W&L Dancers Create…” showcased dances performed and choreographed by the W&L Repertory Dance Company students under visiting professor Celeste Lanuza.

DANCE-110 culminated in the concert that was performed in the Lenfest Center’s Keller Theatre, recorded and virtually livestreamed during the weekend of November 5th. 

Dancers wore masks and socially distanced on stage.

Emily Matthews, ‘22, believes that despite being virtual, the show positively represented her experience as a dance minor.

“I think that we were still successful as a company. We were able to think about dance differently, as instead of the audience just getting a front-facing view, we were able to experiment with different camera angles, which I felt brought something to our work we haven’t been able to work with before,” she said. 

Dancers collaborated with students from other classes in the Department of Theater, Dance and Film Studies.

“This semester we also got to work with students in the lighting design class, as well as film students who came and shot all of the footage used in the streamed performance,” Matthews said.

Department head and theater professor Shawn Paul Evans oversaw the production through all its stages including lighting design, videography and editing. 

“It was all hands on deck for the department,” he said. “Having a tight-knit community is always helpful in the arts because we’re collaborative, though it means people have to wear many hats.”

Evans said student choreographers were given individual creative oversight. 

However, Matthews said many dances responded thematically to the COVID-19 pandemic, including the duet she choreographed.

“Our duet was inspired largely by the difficulties and challenges thrown on us and so many others by COVID-19, more specifically, the toll on mental health the forced separation caused.”

Matthews and her partner drew inspiration from the Greek myth of Sisyphus. 

“Our piece is about learning how to reach out to someone, and feeling that the sense of loneliness will never go away,” Matthews said. 

“It wasn’t perfect, but getting to do it all together for the first time– work that we ourselves created, that we put so much emotion into, was an amazing moment and one of my favorite memories of this semester.”

The W&L Repertory Dance Company will hold auditions on the first Tuesday of winter classes and will put on another dance concert in the spring. 

“As we continue into next term, we will encourage students to explore working through the lens,” Evans said.”

He encouraged anyone interested to participate, “There’s no experience necessary; you can be involved if you’ve never danced before in your life, and you can be involved at any level.”