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


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    Dancescape: An Emotional Journey of the Senses

    Karleigh Johnson
    A glimpse of dancers during one of the many pieces in Dancescape.

    Just last week, Winona State University hosted its annual Dancescape event, with dance numbers of all categories. Displaying anything from contemporary or modern dance, all the way to rhythmic and upbeat tap dancing, Dancescape is an opportunity to experience powerful and creative storytelling, all through live performance.

    Sarah Nagle is a fourth-year student at Winona State University, majoring in global studies and minoring in both dance and political science. Working hard alongside fellow performers, she enjoys events such as Dancescape.

    “I’ve been dancing since I was five years old, and when I graduated high school, I just wanted to continue it, and I heard that there is a dance minor program here. So, I got involved right away,” Nagle said.

    Nagle explains that students and staff have been hard at work since before the academic year had even begun. Those in charge of choreography submit proposals in May, and the summer months are spent brainstorming, while compiling music and ideas together.

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    “We have auditions in August, and prior to that choreographers submit a proposal to choreograph their own piece,” Nagle said. “And then casting is in August and then we would meet once a week and start developing each dance.”

    These early weeks in the school year are spent hosting auditions, and after choreographers confirm their pieces, the fall semester begins to consist of weekly rehearsals, receiving feedback in creatively developing their pieces.

    In this year’s Dancescape event, Nagle performed in five pieces, one being a solo that she choreographed herself.

    “I definitely had a challenge working on my solo, because I thought it would be easy because it’s just me and I know what I’m good at, but it was so much harder to come up with things that I was comfortable doing and that I liked,” Nagle said.

    Lengthy amounts of time, planning, and resources go into an event like Dancescape. While it may be a one-night event as an audience member, Dancescape is the result of months of collaboration from those with skillsets even outside of dance. Plus, there are three total performances of the weekend.

    Once dancers and their pieces are selected for the show, they begin to coordinate with the costume designer, lighting designers, and narrow down all the technical elements to the show.

    Erin Drummond is an assistant professor and dance program director here at Winona State. Drummond is also the artistic director and one of the choreographers for Dancescape. Drummond discusses the process of becoming show ready, with collaboration from everyone to perfect the event.

    “It’s just trying to coordinate everybody’s needs. Not just technical needs, but everyone has their lives going on, you know, so people have stuff that’ll come up emotionally, physically, all kinds of things,” Drummond said. “Just holding space for all of that, it’s always both a privilege and a challenge.”

    Drummond explains that the transition of regular rehearsals to tech week can be an intense adjustment, due to details audience members might not even think about. Dancers are suddenly practicing in a new space, with completely different lighting, props, and even flooring that might adjust the way they can perform.

    While during tech week, many are often scrambling to complete the finishing touches, the show always comes together in the end, and Dancescape has become a tradition in Winona State, and simply for the community members in Winona.

    “The most exciting thing for me is watching dancers become comfortable in their role to the point where they can make their own creative choices inside of the piece,” Drummond said. “Watching that creative agency on stages, I think that’s the most exciting for me.”

    For those interested in performing, and joining the dance community, there are auditions taking place this week for the spring showcase, and it serves as an opportunity to meet other students. And for those who prefer to be an audience member, you can look forward to attending the spring showcase in March, which is directed by our very own students.

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    About the Contributor
    Karleigh Johnson
    Karleigh Johnson, News Reporter
    Karleigh Johnson (she/her/hers) is a reporter for the Winonan as of fall 2023. She started off at North Hennepin Community College and transferred to Winona State University in her third year to Major in Creative Digital Media and Minor in both Film Studies and Spanish. 
    After attending Nuevas Fronteras Spanish Immersion, Karleigh continues to have a passion for the Spanish language and culture. She studied in Spain through Winona State University in May of 2023. Karleigh enjoys travel, art, writing, photography and videomaking. 
    Karleigh participated in the Disney College Program in Spring 2022 and became a Disney Trainer. After graduation, she hopes to return to Disney by working for one of the many media and entertainment companies Disney owns. Her dream is to write her own television show inspired by comedic styles of The Office, Parks and Recreation, Arrested Development, and many others.

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