The Dickinsonian

Choreography Students Showcase their Fresh Works

Hannah Gore ’18, Staff Writer

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Dickinson College’s Dance Theatre Group (DTG) and the Dickinson Department of Theatre and Dance held their annual Freshworks show, “An Evening of Student Choreography” in Mathers Theater on April 28, 29 and 30.

Freshworks serves to showcase the choreography of Dickinson students who come from a variety of academic and creative backgrounds. This semester, 10 students presented their choreographed works, including Armando Moreno ’20, Alexia Tobash ’17, Alyssa Giordano ’17, Margot Abrahams ’17, Tran Tran ’18, Christine Merolla ’17, Leigh Tracey ’17, Noah Fusco ’18, Kathleen Getaz ’17 and Colleen Brandt ’17. Although some of these students have been studying dance for years, others recently entered the sphere of choreography.

According to Sarah Skaggs, the director of dance, and as stated in the program for the show, the performaces included eight original student dance pieces and two senior projects. The students were invited to “consider art-making as a part of artistic activism,” which results in “a rich spectrum of works that reflect our troubled times,” wrote Skaggs.

Tracey, who choreographed the piece “Split Screen Realities,” has been dancing since she was young. She is an English major and dance minor, two disciplines which interacted in her piece for Freshworks. 

“I was looking at time and the way time is structured,” she explained. “I was really influenced by the work of Kurt Vonnegut and the way he explores time, specifically focusing on dreams and expectations versus reality and the ways those ideas intersect.”

Tracey explained that throughout her four years at Dickinson, she has come to appreciate the connections and interdisciplinary nature of her various courses of study. For her, “the way you create a dance is sort of the same way you write a paper… you have to write and rewrite to finally figure out what it is that you’re actually writing about, and for dance it’s the same thing. You go into the studio, and you’re constantly playing around, constantly testing things out.”

In the case of Fusco, an English and theatre major and choreographer of “‘Only Skin,’” dance is a new medium. Though his concentration in theatre is acting and directing, he was encouraged by Skaggs to begin taking choreography courses at Dickinson. “I had seen a lot of dance my sophomore year. I found it very compelling and took a whack at it,” Fusco said.

Despite the difficulties he encountered in learning a new art form, the experience has been positive and has contributed to his understanding of dance and choreography. “Seeing how [drama and the written word] translates to movement, to the physical body, it’s very peculiar. It’s interesting to see how spontaneous dancers are with their bodies, how quickly they can do whatever movements they need to do or come up with new movements.”

Freshworks exposed many members of the Dickinson community to a new way of dance and movement, and “Although many of the movements expressed tonight may not correspond with our notion of ‘dance…’” wrote Skaggs, “what we see are the innovative movements of budding dance vocabularies.”

For Dan Allegar ’17, an attendee at the event, “It was really neat that there were so many seniors who choreographed pieces.” He appreciated seeing “how their experience with dance at Dickinson shaped their ideas about what should go in to a dance piece.”

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Choreography Students Showcase their Fresh Works