Wittenberg’s dancers showcased their talents by performing student-choreographed pieces, ranging from hip-hop to tap to lyrical for the 2014 Fall Dance Concert Nov. 6-9 at Chakeres Memorial Theater.
Directed by Shih-Ming Li Chang, associate professor of dance, many of the dancers said that for them, the fall dance concert proves to be much more than just a concert.
“It is not just dance concert to us; it is a way to express and develop ourselves as more whole, well-rounded individuals,” senior choreographer and dancer Melissa Hummel said. “The dance department, especially in providing us the opportunity to choreograph, is a perfect application of the liberal arts education by teaching creative new ways to learn more about yourself and spread passion of knowledge to others.”
The dance concert not only gave experienced dancers the opportunity to experience performing and choreographing at a higher level, but it also allowed students without much experience to be involved with dance, according to senior dancer and choreographer Alexis Baker.
“The department and Shih Ming Li Chang, our artistic director, foster our personal growth and help us form a critical eye for visual art,” Baker said.
Students choreographing the pieces—a unique feature of Wittenberg’s dance program—requires a lot of time, organization, creativity and vision to pull together, according to Hummel.
“[Choreographing our own pieces] lets us express ourselves and tell a story solely through our movement and emotions,” sophomore choreographer and dancer Alyssa Tomcho said. “For me, it gave me the opportunity to create a dance about the relationship between my father and I—something that is extremely important to me.”
In preparation for the concert, dancers and choreographers have put in hours of practice and hard work; Baker said that she has been preparing for the concert since mid-July by coming up with choreography for her dances.
“As a choreographer, we have to come up with the music we want to use, the movement itself, and try to choose what type of dancers we want to express and do our movements,” Baker said. “Setting up rehearsal around everyone’s crazy schedules and going to weekly showings show the progress of your work.”