The official blog of the Muhlenberg Theatre & Dance Department

Posts Tagged: Muhlenberg Dance Association


Hello everyone! After a crazy last few weeks, I am finally back here to check in with my final blog post of the year. As you have probably guessed, Dance Emerge is finished, and was an astounding success, if I do say so myself. I am so proud to say that in my first year here at Muhlenberg, I was a part of the largest Dance Emerge cast yet, with fourteen diverse dance pieces by fourteen incredible student choreographers. After a hectic week of tech rehearsals, our amazing cast performed six sold out shows, including our Wednesday dress which was opened to the public because of demand. I cannot even begin to sum up the crazy experience of show week, but I think that is exactly what makes it a Muhlenberg dance performance. 

To start the week, all dancers and tech crew attended various types of tech rehearsals so that each performance would be flawless. First was spacing, where each choreographer gets a set time slot in the Dance Studio Theatre to run his or her piece. I always get so excited seeing how the space where I take my weekly classes is transformed into a performance space fit with lights, sounds, and curtains. After running the piece a few times in spacing came cue-to-cue, where our fantastic lighting designer Paul E. Theisen makes each choreographer’s lighting visions come true. Each choreographer gets a few light cues to further enhance the moods of their pieces. As any dancer could probably tell you, I never feel as though the show is finally real until the lights are on me. 

Following cue-to-cue came the dress rehearsals, which usually run the few days before opening night. At final dress, everybody and everything is going full steam: tech, lights, and sound are running and the dancers are in full costumes, hair, and makeup. During the last few rehearsals, backstage is as busy as ever, ironing out the final kinks of the show as everyone gets into the groove of the run.

Then came opening night. This was the time we had all been waiting for, so as everyone arrived backstage the energy level was as high as can be. After we all got in costume, applied makeup and did our hair, most casts grouped together with their choreographers for a final pep talk. Usually, this involved some inter-cast gift giving before we all headed downstairs for our final shakeout. As you can guess, this Muhlenberg tradition, along with “Pass the Squeeze” was especially emotional for the seniors in Dance Emerge, who were about to perform for the last time on the Muhlenberg mainstage. Although I cannot even imagine how I will feel four years from now, I can surely say that it was an honor for everyone involved to work on such a great show.           

As I said before, this year’s Dance Emerge was an overwhelming success for everyone involved, and I can only hope that I continue to be a part of such great shows here at Muhlenberg!

Here’s a picture of the piece I was in (Photo Credit: Matthew Wright, Fig Tree Photography):


Hi everyone! Remember me? Well I’m back assistant stage-managing again, this time for Dance Emerge.  There have been a lot of differences between this process and the process for On the Town, in which I was involved last semester. For example, during On the Town, I was involved from after casting through tech and performances. At the end, I could recite the show forwards and backwards, knew the location of every single prop, and could tell you exactly what set changes happened where. This time around, I joined the process during the cue-to-cue tech rehearsal. At first, I was a little nervous, because I didn’t know how things would run since I’ve never worked a dance concert before, and I hadn’t been involved in the rehearsal process at all, but the cast and crew made me feel so welcome, and I quickly was brought up to speed on everything I needed to know.

My responsibilities include setting up and taking down the space before and after shows, giving the dancers their “go” to enter, and serving as a go-between for the dancers and the production stage manager, answering questions and solving problems while the stage manager is calling the show. I also help out the other two ASMs, who have other responsibilities backstage, such as making sure costumes and props get back to their appropriate place after they are used.  It’s a fair amount of work, but I’m happy to do it.

So far, I’ve really enjoyed my foray into the dance world. All 14 of the student-choreographed pieces are incredible! Each one has a unique and interesting concept behind it, and it blows my mind how creative each piece is. I think it’s amazing that Muhlenberg is so committed to student work, and that these choreographers are getting the chance to share their visions with the campus community. It’s a nice reminder, for me at least, of what I love about the Theatre & Dance Department here. Well, that’s all from me for now, but I’ll be sure to check in again soon! 


Hello everyone! Since my last blog, so much has gone on in the world of Dance Emerge. With less than a month left, the Dance Program is busier than ever planning for the show, whether it’s making the playbill, making the costumes, or organizing the order of the show. As a dancer, it’s so exciting it is to see the pieces finally coming together and how far we have come in a few short weeks. Overall, this year’s Dance Emerge seems to be well on its way to becoming a spectacular show, and has even sold out many of its performances already!

Now that we’re back from Easter Break, we have Dance Emerge's third and final showing, in which choreographers will present their finished pieces to the artistic directors, professors Jeffrey Peterson and Teresa VanDenend Sorge, as well as other dance faculty for feedback. This showing will be particularly exciting because all of the pieces will finally be completed after a semester of work. In addition to this, we are also beginning to use costumes, created by Lex Gurst. The costumes are awesome and each features a wide variety of colors, fabrics, and shapes to enhance the look of the dance pieces. 

In preparation for the final showing, dancers and choreographers alike have been extremely busy finishing their dances. In most recent rehearsals, we spent most of our time applying feedback we received at our last showing and cleaning up choreography to make it more precise. With only three hours per week of rehearsals per dance, it has been super important to keep pushing the work forward. With all of the dance pieces finished and a showing quickly approaching, as dancers, our focus is now entirely on precision and performance. 

Don’t forget to get your tickets for Dance Emerge before the other performances sell out!

Here’s a sneak peek of the piece I’m in by Kelsey ‘13. And yes, those are plastic bags. 



Hello Everyone! After what seems like such a long break, I can happily say that I am back in action with endless dance rehearsals here at Muhlenberg! This semester, I will be blogging about the three dance pieces that I was cast in for the upcoming student-choreographed show, Dance Emerge. Immediately after returning to classes for the spring, the MDA held auditions for this show featuring fourteen talented student choreographers, each chosen by Muhlenberg’s dance faculty. Needless to say, I am extremely honored to be a part of a show again this semester.     

To start off rehearsals, all of my choreographers explained the concepts, main ideas, or moods of their pieces. These ideas ranged from water to plastic, spirals to angles, and improvisation to math. Needless to say, Dance Emerge 2013 is going to feature quite a wide variety of dance styles. After learning more about the piece, choreographers took one of two routes: either jumping right into pre-set choreography, or letting the dancers explore the ideas themselves through improvisation. Personally, I had the most fun getting to explore other dancers’ ideas by improvising under certain confines, such as using a prop or a certain song chosen by the choreographer.  

Now that I am a few weeks into rehearsals, I am thrilled to see how far these dances have already come. All three pieces have completed a few minutes each of set choreography, which will soon be presented before the Muhlenberg dance staff at our first showing. I am especially excited to see the response to one dance piece, which features structured improvisation and music created by another talented Muhlenberg student. Overall, I’m super eager to see where these dances travel to, and how all of these hours will pay off in the end!
Be sure to mark your calendars for Dance Emerge! Shows are April 18-21 in the Dance Studio Theatre. Tickets:

Here’s another video from the Muhlenberg Dance Association. This time, they’re promoting Master Choreographers with a flash mob in Muhlenberg’s Wood Dining Commons. 

Another amazing backstage look at Master Choreographers by Emily P. ‘14. If this doesn’t make you want to buy tickets, we don’t know what will!

Master Choreographers opens this Thursday!

Tickets: 484-664-3333 or Online

We’re sure most of the students here would agree.

We’re sure most of the students here would agree.

Science writer John Bohannon makes a compelling argument for using dancers instead of Powerpoint. We tend to agree.


Hello all! After a crazy, long, and stressful week, I’m back to tell you about my awesome experiences in my first Muhlenberg production, Moving Stories! This past week consisted of long hours of dress rehearsals, cue-to-cues, and lots of practice, which all came together in an overwhelming success. Before I get to that though, I’m going to start at the beginning.

Beginning late last week, dress rehearsals and tech began on our Baker stage. Each night, a few dance pieces got an allotted time slot to test out their spacing, experiment with stage lighting, and run the dance in costume. This was the time to fix any problems, whether it was a late lighting cue or my ill-fitting pants. While not on stage, the rest of the cast had some time to relax in the lavender lounge (Muhlenberg’s version of a green room) and bond before the show. As any dancer could guess, this time was filled with lots of jokes, songs, and of course back massages.

Once Thursday rolled around, this relaxing backstage atmosphere was transformed into a bubble of excitement. Before the show, I was introduced to many of the Muhlenberg dance traditions, including gift giving, kiss the cast, crew dance, pass the squeeze, and “the shakeout.” An hour before the show, all dancers were calling onstage for a fun warm-up led by professors Jeffrey Peterson and Teresa VanDenend Sorge, or Meredith, our Muhlenberg Dance Association president, to calm our nerves. We were then sent back upstairs, where we put the finishing touches on our hair and makeup and got into costume.

Before we knew it, it was show time. Every night of performances, the audience filled the theatre and the dancers were ready. Each performance went incredibly smoothly, and every dance piece looked even better on stage than it had in rehearsals. The piece I was in, “Self-Mediation” by Sean Vanin ’13, was third in the show, giving me just enough time to enjoy the rest of the performance.

Although shows ended Saturday night, I was lucky enough to get one last chance to perform Sean’s piece… in New York! Sean and Emily Ancona’s pieces were both chosen to go to a College Connect dance showing in the city at Dance New Amsterdam. At 7 a.m. Sunday morning, our two casts boarded the bus for a day filled with dance. After watching and performing pieces, all of the dancers and choreographers gave feedback on each other’s works and suggested improvements. 

Quite obviously, my week was filled with dance, but it’s not over for me yet. Now that I have checked Moving Stories off of my to-do list, I am moving on to my next show, the informal dance concert. Come check it out in December! I’ll keep you updated on all of my dancing news, but until then, here are some backstage shots from Moving Stories!

Left/Top: "Self-Mediation" cast practicing their "virus" pose.

Right/Bottom: The freshmen in Moving Stories! (minus Tommy)

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