Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan

Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan

Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan


What is your favorite building to study in?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

What really goes into Dancescape: a behind the scenes look

Erin Cochran/Winonan

I’ve been a dancer since the age of three; it’s been one of the most constant loves of my life. It has been what I’ve known from such a young age. Dancing is just as important to me as breathing. It’s what I know, what I love and what I have to do no matter what life throws at me.

When coming to college it was such an easy decision to continue this love of mine and I was so happy to hear that Winona State University had a dance minor program. From my very first dance class at Winona State to my very last, it’s been such a huge part of my college career.

Every year there is Dancescape. It encompasses student choreography, guest artist work and faculty pieces. The varieties of the pieces range from modern dance to hip-hop to jazz, tap, Broadway, ballet, lyrical and even African ritual dance.

Story continues below advertisement

Being a dancer in the production throughout my college years, I’ve seen every style possible. It’s been so amazing to get to be apart of different style of dances and experience what each style entails.  The technicality ranges so drastically and it has been a huge learning experience to grow in the craft.

Being a senior, this will be my last year in the production. Dancescape is no small thing. Auditions are generally the second or third week of school and the production opens its curtains mid-February. In between auditions and the final product are weekly rehearsals where you learn the choreography, perfect it and bond with your fellow dancers.

It takes a lot of commitment and dedication to be in this show. Along with the weekly rehearsals are the first feedback session where the faculty, such as head of the dance program, Gretchen Cohenour, critiques your piece and from there can come giant changes. Before you know it comes the actual auditions where you find out if your piece even makes the show. One could practice for months only to find out that you didn’t even make the show.

A little side note about Gretchen–She loves her job more than anything and is such an inspiration to the craft. From day one as a dance minor, Gretchen has guided me through this artistic journey and not only taught me the fundamentals, the history and the appreciation of dance as a true art form. Gretchen has this amazing ability to teach you how to really be present in your own body and has such a calming voice. I really want to record her voice at some point before I graduate just so when the real world gets crazy and it seems like nothing is going right, I can just listen to her and everything will be alright!

After the sigh of relief that comes with seeing your dance on the show order list comes the next step of perfecting for the actual show. To start the second semester off, technical rehearsals come full swing. Tech rehearsals are probably the most vital part of the show because this is where the decisions get made about lighting, costumes and staging. It’s amazing how many small details and decisions go into the final product of the show. There is sometimes little recognition to the ones behind the scenes of not only the dance production but to the theater ones as well. I can’t thank the techies enough for all their hard work and ingenious vision when it comes to all the little things. Thank you!

This week marks my very last debut in Dancescape. I have been so blessed to be apart of something so great throughout college. I’ve made such lifelong friends, learned so much as a dancer and someone who appreciates the arts as well as learned life lessons such as sincere dedication, gratitude and always treating life as your stage. Being on stage, waiting for that curtain to rise all the memories I’ve made throughout this production will flash before my eyes and as the final light fades and the curtain closes I will feel nothing just sincere humbleness to be able to continue such a passion not only in college but in life.

Contact Erin at [email protected]

More to Discover