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Posts Tagged: Natalie

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Hi everyone! I’m super excited to talk about Muhlenberg’s most recent dance performance, Master Choreographers. Although this was my first time performing in Masters, I’ve been told it was one of the best yet. This accomplishment is even more rewarding knowing that this year marked the 20th year of Master Choreographers performances. The show features many guest and faculty artists, as well as a restaging of the world-renowned piece D-Man in the Waters, choreographed by Bill T. Jones. I personally performed in Dorrell Martin’s piece titled “Truth is the Born of Arguments,” and was an understudy of Jeffrey Peterson’s “Peer.” It was an absolutely wonderful experience for me to work for the past few months with such professionals, who brought so much creative energy to the process. Putting the pieces on the Empie stage, however, brought each piece a new level of performance energy and excitement. Lighting, costuming, and staging finally turned the ideas that had been in all of our minds for the past few months into a spectacular reality.

Although I could talk for hours about the amazing work performed onstage, I was most honored and impressed by the loving Muhlenberg Dance Association community during the run of the show. As always, the entire cast came together before every performance for various traditions including pass the squeeze, shakeout, and crew dance. Backstage, however, the togetherness continued with endless hugs and words of encouragement before every piece. The cast of D-Man even received a good luck card and bouquet from Bill T. Jones himself. Through nerves, injuries and sicknesses, the cast banded together and helped each other create the best show we possibly could. Being a part of this ever-supportive family, the MDA, is truly my favorite part of being a dancer here at Muhlenberg. This community ultimately adds to the life of our performances, creating connection behind the pieces we are a part of. As stated so perfectly by choreographer Jeffrey Peterson just minutes before curtain, “The greatest part of this performance is being able to share the stage with each other.”

Below are some more photos from the Master Choreographers photo shoot.

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Hi again! Just wanted to give you all an update on how Moving Stories 2013 went now that the show has come to a close. Last time I blogged, we were closing up rehearsals and beginning our work in tech. Although it was a hectic week to say the least, the show came together wonderfully for opening night. The combination of Lara’s dazzling costumes, Paul’s brilliant lighting work and the fantastic choreography of nine students and one faculty member all came together to create an awesome night of work. As I have stated before, the works were greatly diverse in style and theme. This being said, my fellow Muhlenberg dancers stepped up to the challenge and performed wonderfully every night.

I personally was involved in two pieces of the show. The opening number, choreographed by Jaclyn Birkner, featured five dancers as Greek goddesses in beautiful purple gowns, fighting for power over the stage. A few pieces later in the show, I was also in Christine DeLuca’s work, featuring the struggles and triumphs of fitting into a group of friends. In this piece, each character was her own individual, allowing the cast to have lots of creative freedom. I can honestly say that I loved being in both of these works due to the hard work and dedication of my choreographers and the bonding I got to do with my wonderful fellow dancers. It continues to surprise me how much of a community Muhlenberg Dance really is, and I’m so honored to be a part of the family.

The actual run of the show seemed to fly by so quickly, especially with all of the fun ’Berg traditions every night. First came writing notes to place in each other’s Kiss the Cast bags. Then before every show was the shakeout, pass the squeeze, and a much-needed warmup by a member of the MDA, Teresa VanDenend Sorge, or Jeffrey Peterson. Physically coming together on stage as a cast before the show always seems to unify us and get us ready to perform to our greatest potential. After this, it was straight to the dressing room to touch up hair and makeup and get into costume. It seemed as soon as the shows began, they were finished, but I can honestly say that they were worth all of the time and effort that was put into them. I wouldn’t change my involvement in the MDA for anything.

In typical Muhlenberg fashion, the show must go on, even if you think it just ended. The day after our closing performance, I was up early once again rehearsing for my next performance in Master Choreographers. At this point, we have been through many rehearsals as well as one showing, and many of the pieces are choreographically complete. It is at this point that I get extra excited about pieces, because it is my work as a dancer to bring them to life. If you didn’t make it to Moving Stories, get excited for Masters 2014 in February. It is sure to be an incredible show!

Here are some photos of the pieces I was in from Moving Stories:

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Hi everyone! I’m back again, blogging about some of our awesome dance shows here at Muhlenberg. This semester, I’m involved in Moving Stories, which opens next week (!), and Master Choreographers, which will be performed in the spring. For Moving Stories, I am dancing in the works of two senior student choreographers: Christine DeLuca and Jaclyn Birkner. For Master Choreographers, I am cast in Dorrell Martin’s piece, and I’m also working as an understudy with fellow blogger Dalit in Jeffrey Peterson’s newest work. Rehearsals for both shows are well underway, with Moving Stories quickly approaching.

This year’s Moving Stories performance will feature the work of nine amazing student choreographers as well as Muhlenberg faculty member Teresa VanDenend Sorge. We began rehearsing for these pieces a few times a week immediately after auditions early in the year, and have just completed our third showing of the pieces to faculty members. For this most recent showing, finished pieces were presented complete with costume options by our awesome guest costume designer, Lara De Bruijn. Seeing all of the works in the final stages of the rehearsal process is very fulfilling, due to the process it took to get them there. I am particularly excited about this year’s show because of the sheer variety of dance styles in the show — from pointe work to pieces infused with images of ancient Greece. Overall, I expect it to be an excellent show that you won’t want to miss. Tech week is just around the corner, get your tickets before it’s too late!

Rehearsals have been just as busy for Master Choreographers as well. For Jeffrey Peterson’s work, I am responsible for knowing the parts of all the dancers in case of absence or injury. Although it can be a tricky job, I’m so thankful for the experience to work with such a conceptually advanced piece. Over halfway finished, this piece is sure to be one the audience will remember. Rehearsals for Dorrell Martin’s piece began just recently, on a busy weekend in which he came to Muhlenberg. In just one weekend, with many hours of intense rehearsal, we were able to nearly complete his entire dance. I absolutely love Dorrell’s choreography style, a kind of jazz-modern fusion. The first Muhlenberg performance I ever saw, as a prospective student, was Master Choreographers, and Dorrell’s piece in that show took my breath away. I wanted to dance like those Muhlenberg dancers, which sealed the deal on my choice of colleges. Two years later, I am absolutely honored to be cast in a piece with the same impact as his previous works. I look forward to this February’s performance, and you should too. It’s definitely not one to miss!

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Working on our poses for Christine DeLuca’s Moving Stories piece!

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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):

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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. 

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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: http://bit.ly/YBXbkQ

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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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Hi everyone! I’m Natalie, a freshman dancer here at Muhlenberg. The last few months have been a whirlwind of exciting new experiences. Crazy new dance classes, opportunities with amazing choreographers, countless auditions and brilliant shows are only the beginning of what I have found Muhlenberg has to offer. If anyone has a love for exploring dance, I promise you that this is the place to get involved.

After the nerve-wracking first week of auditions, I was super excited to hear that I got cast in one dance piece in Moving Stories and two pieces in the fall informal dance concert. Ever since this news, my weeks have been filled with rehearsals for both shows. I am delighted to say that just this week we completed the piece for Moving Stories, and received our eye-catching costumes from Constance Case, the show’s costume designer. 

For the informal dance concert, we have spent much of our time in rehearsals during the last couple weeks exploring a wide array of movement, music selections, and storylines. I can truthfully say that I already can see some amazing dance works coming from this process, varying from energetic jazzy numbers to lyrical ballet styles. I praise these choreographers for taking the time to explore these innovative new ideas. 

I also encourage you all to come see these two awesome shows here at Muhlenberg! Moving Stories runs from Nov. 15-17, and the informal show is Dec.5-6! That’s all for now, but I attached a picture you can see below of an informal dance rehearsal. Here you see a still shot of a rather comedic piece. I hope you’ll come to see the rest!