Generals Dance

Clare Wilkinson and Danielle Hughson

W&L Dancers Create

by Clare Wilkinson

“Student choreography creates a dialogue between dancers and choreographers. Clearly communicating the dance envisioned in one’s mind is a challenge but a great chance for peer leadership,” said Jillian Katterhagen ‘15, sharing her thoughts after a slew of performances this week.

After a semester of rehearsing, the Washington and Lee Dance Company presented their annual fall concert, Dancers Create from Dec. 3 to Dec. 5.

With all of the pieces in the show choreographed by students, the performance had a very personal feel.

As a choreographer, you have to be very clear with your desires and not be afraid to tell your dancers when they’re doing something wrong, Katterhagen said. Both choreographer and dancers have to be patient with one another, because the dancers are making the choreographer’s “idea come to life,” she added.

Dancing for student choreographers makes for “such a unique experience because all of the dancers who come in to W&L have different training and background in dance, and yet we’re all thrown together to create these amazing pieces in the show,” said Elliot Emadian ’17.

These different talents and skills are highlighted during the student choreographing process, which creates a special composition and a strong ensemble.

Many dancers in the company have seen an increase in skill and talent over the course of the year.  They agreed that this is due to the dance company changing its 1-credit class to a 3-credit class, with six hours of mandatory strength and technique rehearsals per week.

These required sessions have contributed to the “team atmosphere,” said Katterhagen, in addition to growing the technique and strength of all of the dancers.

“The increase in required rehearsal time really helped improve the quality of the show and the unity of the company,” said Emily Danzig ’16.

The individual pieces in the show this year were lengthened in time: each was required to be somewhere between four and seven minutes.

“The longer pieces forced the choreographers to truly develop a story or concept for their piece, increasing the artistic quality of the pieces and the show overall,” said Danzig.

It also forced the choreographers to really think about time and space, and how they have their dancers utilize the whole stage.

The show had a good audience turnout this year, with a completely full house on Thursday evening. The show was well received by viewers, with enthusiastic applause after each piece.

“The student choreographers did an amazing job and it was great to see the long hours of hard work pay off,” said Jenny Lee ’17.

Professors Join In

by Danielle Hughson

When the Washington and Lee Repertory Dance Company put on Dancers Create performances this week, professors got involved too.

Dancing with the Professors is one of the Dance Company’s primary fundraisers for the year. As Elliot Emadian ‘17, one of the members of the Company and also a choreographer for Dancers Create, said, “Dancing with the Professors is an hour-long spectacle of comedy, tricks and dancing.”

Ten professors from all different departments were recruited to join this spectacle, and danced and performed with their students. However, the routines had only been practiced within the last week, leaving plenty of room for comedy and shenanigans.

On top of rehearsals, members of the company have been manning a table in  Commons throughout the week, taking votes (in the form of donations) for various student/professor pairings. Audience members were also allowed to vote for their favorite groupings after the performances on Sunday. The group that receives the largest donation in total, wins the competition.

The donations will go to help the Dance Company in their various events throughout the year that require extra funds. But they specifically go to sending dancers to the American College Dance Festival, a competition where the winners are chosen to continue on to the national competition in Washington DC.

Emadian, who worked the table last year as a freshman, and is dancing with Professor Williams (Physics Department) in a Nutcracker Medley this year, said, “Dancing with the Professors is awesome because it allows students to interact with their professors in a new way.”