Senior Dance Show brings passion to life onstage


Mohammed Islam

Dancers Sarah Abeln, Alexa Akemann, Jayde Grass, Kiirsti Linna, Hannah Ose, Hannah Prondzinski, Tatum Retter and Taylor Storlie perform “Not So Fresh When You Have Senioritis” at the Senior Dance Show on Wednesday, April 24. The dance was choreographed by senior Jenna Grochow as a part of her capstone project.

Kellen Brandt, Features Reporter

Each year many dance performances are held on campus. The Senior Dance Show is a student lead show put on by seniors with a passion for dance.

This year, seniors Jenna Grochow and Hannah Ose lead the show by co-directing the production with the help of Winona State University theatre and dance professor Gretchen Cohenour.

Grochow, a creative digital media and films study double major and  dance minor, explained the annual Senior Dance Show.

“It is all student lead and all the dances are choreographed by students and the crew is all volunteer students who just have a passion for dance,” Grochow said.

Grochow explained that the Senior Dance Show is different from all other dance performances on campus.

“A lot of other productions held on campus are led and directed by staff members so having the Senior Dance Show directed and led by all students makes it really unique,” Ose said.

The Senior Dance Show displays a variety of dances with tap, jazz, modern, hip-hop, musical theatre and many others. Ose described the show as a “passion project” and that is why there are so many different kinds of dances.   

Each year the theme changes and the directors pick a name and theme that will best fit for the show. This year Grochow and Ose chose the title of “Off Beat.”

“We came up with the theme of ‘Off Beat’ because Jenna and I both did not come from a studio background.” Ose said. “When we started to Winona State, we declared our dance minors and we felt like we were kind of off the beaten path, but we’re still just as passionate about dance.”

Jayde Grass, first-year elementary education major, shared her experience as a first-time dancer and choreographer for the Senior Dance Show.

Much like Grochow and Oso, Grass never did studio dance or had much experience with other styles of dance before coming to college.

“I really wanted to push myself and see what types of dance I could progress in,” Grass said. “Just within two months, I gained skills I most definitely did not have before. I also love the feeling of teaching someone a new skill or dance, such as swing, and seeing the progress that happens within the process.”

Grass choreographed and danced in a piece titled “Swing It” as well as one piece titled “800,000,” choreographed by Becca Braun and another titled “Not So Fresh When You Have Senioritis,” choreographed by Jenna Grochow.

Grass explained where her passion for dance and her excitement for Senior Dance Show started.   

“I have always loved making up dances and performing them to my parents when I was younger, and I think that passion for “making up dances” has grown into a love for choreographing for more than just my family,” Grass said.

The Senior Dance Show had 14 choreographers, 15 pieces and 39 dancers from all different backgrounds and experiences, creating a supportive environment for all of the cast and crew.

“Nobody in the cast or crew is any more important than the next, no matter how long you have been dancing or whatever walk of life you come from,” Grass said.  “Many others and I use dance as an outlet to let out our emotions and that in and of itself can build so many friendships and open so many opportunities.”

The Senior Dance Show is a place for all dancers, choreographers and viewers alike.     

“It is a nice thing to have especially so close to finals, everyone is so stressed out and this show can bring so much light and life to everyone because it is so up-beat and fun. It’s really electric,” Grochow said.