Terpsichore’s informal show may have been brief — running just under 40 minutes — but it was by no means short on talent or enthusiasm.
Unable to book Harbach Theatre for a formal show due to Repertory Theatre Term, the Terpsichore Executive Board still wished to showcase what members of Knox’s dance community have been up to — from student-taught classes to showcase pieces for dance festivals to routines by Dance Squad and Pandora’s Box, a small ensemble.
“We were getting a lot of suggestions just from other people within the club … that we should have some kind of show,” sophomore and Terp Exec’s secretary Kaity Hutchcroft said.
Open Stage, performed in Kresge Recital Hall on Sunday, March 3 at 2 p.m. was their solution.
But more than just a second choice, club members saw the informal show as an opportunity.
For Freshman Member at Large Hannah Steele, the show exemplified the nature of the club which, she said, “is all about change, and we change with the times … so we get to be at the forefront of that change.”
Co-Production Manager junior Kelsey Cullum mentioned in an email that she hoped it would allow the audience “to see a different side of Terp, one that is more focused on classes.”
“We’re bringing new ideas to Terp, trying to make it a little more diverse … keep the audience engaged,” said Freshman Member at Large Valencia Short, who saw the informal show as attractive to a wider variety of would-be performers with its low-key format.
Hutchcroft viewed it as something to consider in terms to come, possibly exploring site-specific options with its informal format.
“We’ve been trying to come up with some new opportunities for performing … something different from just the regular big show, and this is kind of a new experiment,” she said.
However, such informal shows are not unheard of in Terpsichore’s history. According to Associate Professor of Dance Jen Smith, Terpsichore’s faculty advisor of 15 years, the organization began with such small-scale, informal performances, which fulfilled its mission of bringing students together to take classes and dance.
“What’s exciting to me,” she said, “is that Terp [members are] starting to look at the history of what [Terpsichore has] done … prior to their experience with Terp, and going, ‘What do we want to bring back that were really interesting experiences … and where do we want to go in the future?’”
Terpsichore is known for its varied, diversified performances and Open Stage was no exception — with numbers ranging from ballet to eccentric contemporary pieces like Professor Kathleen Ridlon’s “Elastic Architecture,” which featured dancers in white jumpsuits and goggles who weaved in and out of giant, blue rubber bands.
Audience enthusiasm reigned high, with high-power performances by Dance Squad and Pandora’s Box receiving hoots and shouts from the crowd.
Junior Danika Hill appreciated the diversity of the production, with its student-professor collaboration and “beautiful mix” of ballet and modern.
Freshman Carly Berinstein was struck by how “each performance was as engaging as the next.” The variety reminded her of just “how much passion we have here at Knox for the different arts.”
Freshman Kayleigh O’Brien enjoyed the informal format “because it makes me feel more involved with it [to be able to] give them feedback while they’re performing,” she said.
Both Berinstein and O’Brien expressed interest in attending Terpsichore-sponsored dance classes in the future.
As Berinstein said, “the informality of [Open Stage] certainly didn’t mean that the performers worked any less hard.”