The Gustavus Dance Company’s will perform its annual spring dance concert this weekend, which is entitled Range of Motion. Performances are Friday, March 13 and Saturday, March 14 at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday, March 15 at 2:00 p.m.
The dance concert involves 28 students in eight dances. Unlike the student-led Shared Space show in the fall, the spring dance concert is choreographed by Gustavus’ faculty choreographers: Michele Rusinko, Melissa Rolnick and Cynthia Gutierrez Garner.
The concert involves a wide variety of students, not just dance majors. “We have all kinds of students who are in the show, majors and minors, people who have been dancing all their lives and who love to dance but who are not minors,” said Melissa Rolnick, visiting assistant professor of theatre and dance.
All of the students spent “huge amounts of time” on the dances, said Rolnick. “On the average, I would say each piece rehearses at least four hours a week starting often times in the fall.”
In addition to a diverse group of student performers, the concert includes a wide variety of pieces. “Often in dance concerts, there will be a thematic idea, and many pieces will be similar, but in this particular concert, each piece has a little world that it’s creating—a different flavor, different style, different music. I think audiences will find it very interesting in that way,” Rolnick said.
Included in the show is one piece, “Alpaca Dreams,” that was created by guest choreographer Charlotte Adams from the University of Iowa. Every year, the Theatre and Dance Department tries to bring in a guest choreographer.
Students felt that working with Adams was a worthwhile experience. “Working with guest artists is a huge privilege because we get so comfortable with the faculty here,” said Senior Sociology and Anthropology Major Ryan Mather, who is also a performer in the concert. “Having someone completely fresh teaching us something—it’s really a fun experience. It’s intense, and it’s difficult to get through the rehearsal process, but it’s really rewarding in the end.”
Another unique piece in the concert is called “Ball Strategies.” “For the first section of it, there’s no music, and the dancers keep their rhythm [by] bouncing playground dodge balls. They’re in tennis shoes, so the percussiveness of their feet on the stage also helps keep the rhythm, but they never count out loud. They only use sounds made with either their bodies or with their objects to keep the time, and it’s incredible,” said Senior Dance and Biology Major and performer in the concert Christine Dornbusch.
All the dancers in the concert are members of the Gustavus Dance Company. Students must go through an audition process to be a part of the company. “There are auditions in the spring of every year and [first-year] auditions in the fall for the company,” said Emily Bulling, a senior English and dance major. “In order to be in the concert, you have to be a member of the company. Auditions are held for the pieces that will be in the concert in the fall.”
Those involved believe that people should attend the concert for several reasons. One is “to experience a different art form, because a lot of people in college and at Gustavus haven’t really experienced … [dance] in concert, and I think it’s a totally different atmosphere. It shows you the different ways to express yourself, and one of those ways is through movement,” said Jenny Broman, a junior management and communication studies major.
Another reason for attending is the fact that “the dance part of the Theatre and Dance Department doesn’t have a lot of opportunities to showcase what they’ve been working on so hard. … I think the arts are a hidden gem among the Gustavus campus community,” said Dornbusch.
Tickets are available at the SAO desk or by calling 507-933-7590. They are free for the Gustavus community, $7 for adults and $5 for students and seniors.