Emerge: the 2023 Choreographer’s Gallery

Colleen Coleman-

Come see “Emerge,” this year’s Choreographer’s Gallery produced by the Department of Theatre and Dance, featuring work from student choreographers Fifth-year Karmen Peter, Senior Mary Juelich, and Juniors Emma Forsyth, Elise Gahart, Dana Marquis, Kelsi Rygg and Ella Schwakopf with faculty direction by Melissa C. Rolnick. Performances will take place in the Gardner Laboratory Theatre Nov. 17-18 at 8:00 p.m., as well as Nov. 19 at 2:00 p.m. Tickets can be purchased online at gustavustickets.com, with Gustavus students and staff entitled to one free ticket each, with additional tickets available for purchase online.

All seven student choreographers are juniors or seniors in the dance department, with six being dance majors and one being a dance minor, most having taken two levels of dance composition courses. “All [students] are very committed to the dance program and the Department of Theatre and Dance overall,” Artistic director Rolnick said. The performance will showcase the emerging talent in the program, seen in the student performers and student choreography.

“As the artistic director, I support the students’ work as it is developing by offering critical feedback. I try not to dictate, but make suggestions and ask questions about their individual process and ideas,” Rolnick commented. The student choreographers were selected to present their work after they wrote a proposal to do so. “The Department of Theatre and Dance supports and cultivates creativity in their students. Choreographers’ Gallery is one example of that,” Rolnick said.

In a recent Fine Arts interview, Sophomore Kieran Connolly spoke about her experience working with Marquis for Emerge. “It has been incredibly fun. I really enjoy dancing with Dana and I really enjoy watching her grow as a choreographer and teacher and it is lovely to be a part of that process,” Connolly said. Connolly stated that her role in the show is to “serve my choreographer in this mission and she is joining this legacy of dancers.” According to Rolnick, the title “Emerge” was chosen as the seven student choreographers are “young but burgeoning choreographers and artists.” “With every dance made, transformation as an artist is sure to take place,” Rolnick said.

Larissa McConnell, Senior Professor of Theatre and Dance, worked with the student choreographers and costume shop students to develop the costuming for “Emerge.” “Terena Wilkens, [the] lighting and sound designer, and I would both work collaboratively on the imagery of the show with the student choreographers. The choreographers and I would meet and talk about their concept for the show, share with them any imagery, music, or even a short story,” McConnell said. McConnell and the choreographers also discussed how they envisioned the piece and the mood they were looking to invoke.

“We’d pull or shop [for] some costumes and then see how it all comes together with the piece: with lighting, movement, and staging,” McConnell added.

McConnell works with students enrolled in Costume Practicum courses to develop the costuming for theatre and dance productions throughout the year. In the Theatre and Dance Department, practicum courses are intended to give students practical experience in many fields, such as performance, scenery and props, lighting and sound, as well as many other subjects, including costuming.  “The costume shop students did an amazing job with the costuming,” McConnell said.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *