Their bodies rose in unison as the music struck its first chord. Dancers tilted their heads as their arms reached for the sky and toes flexed to a point with every movement flowing to create a personalized story. The Georgetown University Dance Company upcoming showcase Feb. 21 and 22 will be the result of hours of weekly rehearsals and hard work came to life through these original pieces, choreographed by both Georgetown students and professional artists.
The February spring concert showcases eight dances of all different styles, with students being able to highlight their performative creativity in the dances they most personally identify with. This freedom makes way for a passionate and exciting show, where students are showcasing their most inspired moves.
Throughout the technically stunning production, the audience will see everything from partner lifts to floor rolls, jazz moves and pirouettes within its hour runtime. Even with all its different styles, this art of dance is rooted in self-expression and self-identification with what each dancer finds most powerful.
Many of the dance pieces are paired with lyrical songs, and, through carefully coordinated movements, the artist’s words and meaning are elevated elegantly alongside the dance. Sometimes, a song itself can spark an inspiration for its own dance number like Amber Run’s “5AM” did, according to student choreographer Juliana Peacock (COL ’22).
“I’d always loved that song and found it really emotional,” Peacock said. “When I first heard it, I thought this would be the perfect song to choreograph a dance to.”
Despite difficulties in molding a choreographer’s distinct vision for the performance to specific dancers, the company sought to hear feedback from each dancer, bring about the best outcomes where everyone contributes their part to a shared vision, according to Peacock.
“It’s a lot about having everybody in the studio at the same time,” Peacock said. “You work with the dancers and make sure it fits their needs — that’s really important for getting it to all coordinate together.”
In order to convey her interpretation of the song, she worked to choreograph the right motions to best suit the somber, melancholy melody and subject matter. By visualizing which moves she wanted in the dance and creating new ones to match the musical melody and dancer’s feedback, the final result featured a large amount of group work, with dancers pulling away and getting pulled back into the fray with a sense of poignant dynamism.
Each dance tells its own distinct story, and students watching from the sides were hooked from start to finish. The choreographers’ careful considerations were visible in every move throughout the showcase.
The imagery and power in the showcase is reflected in each smaller performance. Tiffanie Carson, one of the professional artists featured in the performance, starts her piece with a group huddling around one dancer and slowly breaking open in a powerful display. Michelle Du’s (COL ’22) piece features lines forming and falling in sequence, with fluid partner dances and each couple moving in sync and lifting each other up in complete trust of one another. Together, these moments in the performance represent the singular vision of each choreographer, creating a spirited production.
This overall showcase aims to spotlight how forms of expression vary within dance and have a personal, more nuanced feeling to them, according to Gabriela Rodriguez (COL ’20), who currently serves as videography coordinator for GUDC.
“Dance allows you to express yourself in a way that other avenues don’t. For example, in writing you’re explicitly saying what you feel, but dance is more implicit,” Rodriguez said. “Maybe you can’t even form the words to what you feel, but you can definitely move in that way.”
The personal connection towards the dance company fosters a sense of community across the passionate dancers, who come from a variety of backgrounds.
All together, the entire performance is a breathtaking and inspiring spectacle. Each dancer expresses their passion, and their commitment to the art of dance is present in each move, from leading a number as a choreographer or manifesting one of their fellow students’ vision as a dancer.
The showcase will run at Gonda Theatre on Friday, Feb. 21 and Saturday, Feb. 22 at 8 p.m.