Dancescape prepares for annual production

Allison Mueller

Left to right: Bailey Alleman, Samantha Johnson and Taylor Storlie perform “Postremo Pacem” for Dancescape during a dress rehearsal in the Vivian Fusillo Main Stage Theatre on Monday night. (Photo by Taylor Nyman)
Left to right: Bailey Alleman, Samantha Johnson and Taylor Storlie perform “Postremo Pacem” for Dancescape during a dress rehearsal in the Vivian Fusillo Main Stage Theatre on Monday night. (Photo by Taylor Nyman)

Kilat Fitzgerald / Winonan

The dance floor laid onstage, commonly referred to by its brand, Marley, bears the wear of the dancers’ rehearsals. All around Winona State University’s Performing Arts Center (PAC), collaborative efforts put on a memorable experience.

Props and costumes form a quick-change process similar to a NASCAR pit crew. Designers work to give each dance a unique lighting effect to compliment the acts on display. Crew clad in black headsets execute the task at hand, while remaining on cue.

Sophomore Andy Glischinski, seniors Gavin Johnson and Hannah Wicklund, graduated student Casey Howe and guest lighting designer Evelyn Trulen stand at the ready as the students in charge of putting each dance in a good light.

Dancescape 2017 will convey a different meaning to all those who experience it, creating a wide range of emotion to be interpreted.

The various messages carried through the language of movement will leave some in awe, and others rejuvenated. Some pieces will capture one’s most basic instincts, followed by another that invites deep inner reflection.

Dancescape begins in the PAC at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 16 and will end Saturday, Feb. 18.

This is the 27th annual performance of Dancescape, and each show proves itself to be vastly different from the previous. This year, 14 dances will be featured in a show unlike any other. For $6, students can enjoy an evening of dance and artistic expression. Tickets are $12 for the public.

The dances are student produced, with choreographers from Winona State forming original material. Choreographers include sophomores Kassidy Jackson, Jenna Grochow and Andrea Wippich, and juniors Courtney Harms, Adyson Johnson, Renee’ Beaird, Ella Dierberger, Matt Erickson, Nick Garcia and Addelle Vietor. Each dance has its own message, prompting attendees to keep their mind open to new concepts.

“You put on your game face and really get in your element,” Erickson said. “It’s really empowering.”

Many of the pieces take a modern approach to dance. For junior Andrea Guerrero, it is a chance to expand her knowledge of how to move her body. It is her first year doing any contemporary dance. Her experience in bachata and other Latin American forms of dancing is different from the work she has put into this year’s show.

“You have to be really loose,” she said.

Instead of a stiff posture, Guerrero moved like water.

One dance, “Steam Heat,” is a reconstruction of the work of Bob Fosse, brought to life by Repertory choreographer Erin Drummond. The dance features sophomores Hannah Ose, Danielle Schlager, and Grochow in matching suits and top hats grooving to the jazzy beats of the age.

“It looks easy, but it’s very intricate, very specific,” Ose said.

Every dancer hopes to triumph, particularly in Jackson’s original work she titled “Triumph.” Two clear moods are depicted in the dance, one of struggling, followed by overcoming. It is exemplified further when a creative costume shift takes place, signifying the transformation that takes place when the dancers prevail.

Jackson’s work involves “having an idea in my head and telling a story through movement,” adding that the audience should “get ready for an artistic rollercoaster.”

Other dances are built on themes of friendship and compassion. Sophomore Nicole Miller is a participant in the piece “I’m fine,” choreographed by Beaird. Miller has had dance experience in high school, including lyrical, hip hop and jazz, but recognizes this performance as something different.

“I think it’s really interesting. It’s cool to see something new,” Miller said.

A range of different performances will display the selection of unique dances and talent this year.

By Kilat Fitzgerald