The Gustavus Theater and Dance Department will be putting on a spring performance to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Gustavus Dance Company on March 22 through 24. The show will celebrate 25 years of dance history at Gustavus with the help and support of Gustavus students, faculty, and alumni.
The pieces are choreographed by Gustavus faculty Jennifer Glaws, Sarah Hauss, Melissa Rolnick and Michele Rusinko, with returning guest alumni choreographers Cynthia Gutierrez Garner (Gustavus Dance Faculty 2006-2009) and Philip Flickinger (2001 alumni, and former performer with Diavolo Dance Theatre), and will also contain student works from Junior Mallory Waytashek and Senior Hollie Edlund.
The theme for the performance is “Dance that questions boundaries, preconceptions and physical limitations—dances that matter,” and it intends to challenge the audience and their perception of what dance can become. Attendees can expect to see a wide range of styles and ideas brought to life in different ways from each individual choreographer and performer.
The performances will be performed by a mixture of students from all four years, some of whom will be dancing together for the very final time, while highlighting the very best that the Gustavus Dance Company has to offer.
The performance will open with a special piece titled “Tomorrowland,” choreographed by former Gustavus Professor Cynthia Guitierrez Garner, which will feature all 11 senior dancers together.
“It is about the journey that the 11 of us have been through together over the past four years and the new adventures we will encounter as we graduate. Because of this, it’s a piece that is very close to all of our hearts,” Senior Sophia Ogren-Dehn said.
“The process of learning the piece was challenging but incredibly fun, so I’m looking forward to performing it on stage with
the other senior dancers,” Senior Teige Cudahy said.
The show will be a celebration of the energy and dedication by Gustavus’ dancers through their years at Gustavus, and through their commitment to dance throughout their lives. Each individual story and unique experience will help contribute to the overall performance.
“My passion for performing came at a young age; watching Disney movies and musicals. My favorite musical has always been West Side Story because of the realism in the choreography of Jerome Robbins,” Senior and Vice President of the Gustavus Dance Company Hollie Edlund said.
“I (and many of the Gustavus dancers) have been dancing since I was about five years old, so much of my passion for dance comes from the simple fact that it has always been a huge part of my life. It has always been the activity that I put most of my energy into and because of that, it has developed into something that I need to do instead of just want to do,” Ogren-Dehn said.
While the performance will be celebrating the individual commitment and talents of the seniors and other dancers in the company, the main focus will be on the bond and community that the company has created over the years.
“Dancing at Gustavus has been one of the most valuable experiences of my college career. That wonderful sense of community that everyone loves about Gustavus seems amplified in the Dance department. The professors encourage, nurture, and genuinely care about their students in all aspects. The men and women that are involved in the department are some of my best friends and it is truly a gift to be able to dance with them nearly every day,” Cudahy said.
“Dance at Gustavus means community to me. We are a unique and diverse group of people that are able to spend very large amounts of time together and still work effectively together,” Ogren-Dehn said.
To help tie together the entire Gustavus dance community from the past 25 years, the closing piece will be a special performance choreographed by alumni Colleen Brady Lindstrom ’99, Nickie Kromminga ’98, Ashleigh Penrod ’04, Sarah Jabar ’10, and Renee Guittar ’12, and performed by 25 alumni dancers. The piece is also intended to celebrate the company’s 25 years under Professor of Theater and Dance Michele Rusinko’s direction.
Showings of the performances will take place at 8:00 p.m. March 22-23 with an additional showing at 2:00 p.m. Sunday March 24 at Anderson Theater. Tickets are available online at gustavustickets.com or by calling 507-933-7598.