Arts & Culture / Dance / Featured / Mosaic / Special Topics / November 7, 2012

Terpsichore Dance Collective learns to ‘Flex’

Dancers bend out in agony during sophomore Juan Irizarry’s dance “Just a Phase” in Harbach Theatre Tuesday, Nov. 6. (Jessica Couvillier/TKS)

This term, the Terpsichore Dance Collective named their show “Flex,” and it is a fitting name. After a tenth of the school took part in last term’s show, pushing fire codes to the brink, Terpsichore has had to become flexible.

“Flex” is the first Terpsichore show to cut people who had auditioned.

“Whatever happens, happens,” production manager and junior Kelsey Witzling said. “We just kind of have to run with it.”

Although this was partially to bring the show back in compliance with fire codes, Terpsichore vice president and sophomore Allie Fry said the move also protected the choreographers’ artistic integrity. In some cases last term, Fry said, choreographers who had planned dances for five dancers ended up taking on 15. She says this new system will be different.

“The choreographers have gotten to stay true to their original concepts,” Fry said.

Although this new policy might seem like a disagreeable change, Fry thinks that the change actually means good things, like a closer bond between the dancers and a stronger show.

“It shows the program is maturing,” she said. “[It gives it] a more disciplined feel, a more professional feel.”

Despite the show’s newly tightened cast, there is still time for dances by new choreographers, including sophomore Dushawn Darling’s piece, “Be Encouraged.” Darling has been choreographing for years, but this is his first piece for Terpsichore.

Students perform for sophomore Niko Kontos’ piece, ‘Spectrum’, during Terpischore Dance Collective tech rehearsals in Harbach Theatre Tuesday, Nov. 2 (Jessica Couvillier/TKS)

The dance, which is set to the song “Encourage Yourself” by Donald Laurence and the Tri City Choir, is a gospel piece, which is rather different than the pieces Terpsichore has presented for the last few years.

Darling chose the piece because his praise dancing has been an important part of his spiritual life.

“Growing up, I was always into praise dancing,” Darling said. For him, dancing is another form of worshipping God. When he was young, he said he was not a great singer, but he could dance.

“I was going to give God what I can do,” he said.

The song was also intensely personal for him. His pastor had given it to him when he was going through a rough patch in high school. The song reminded him that there will always be a morning after a dark night, and he listened to it whenever he was feeling discouraged. He promised himself that if he had a chance to choreograph a praise dance, it would be to this song.

At first, he was worried that he would not be allowed to do the song because it was “too Christian-y,” but he was happily surprised to receive nothing but support.

“They really love it,” he said. “They’ve pushed freight the whole way.”

Sophomores Bryan Valencia, Juan Irizarry and Kathleen Gullion reach out during junior Haley Schutt’s piece in Harbach Theatre Tuesday, Nov. 2 (Jessica Couvillier/TKS)

Another first time choreographer is junior Emily Diklich. Her dance, “Blue Suede Shoes,” uses the version of the Elvis song of the same name from the musical “All Shook Up.” Since the show is filled with serious dances, Diklich wanted to do something different.

“It’s a fun, upbeat number,” Diklich said. She said the dance is inspired by “cute 50s movements” and the song gives the number a special foot-inspired twist.

Although the piece has 10 dancers, Diklich said that her first choreographed performance piece ended up being “not as difficult as I thought it would be.”

Tags:  choreography dance flex Harbach performance terp terpsichore theatre

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Paige Anderson
Paige Anderson is a junior double majoring in computer science and creative writing. This is her second year as co-Mosaic editor. Outside of TKS, Paige has written for Knox’s Office of Communications and for her high school newspaper; her in-depth work won a third-place medal in the Redwood Empire Excellence in Journalism Awards competition. Paige will intern at Amazon during the summer of 2013.

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