Allegheny dancers swing into spring

Autumn+Recke%2C+%E2%80%9817%2C+and+Akeem+Bridgeman%2C+%E2%80%9816%2C+perform+in+%E2%80%9CSpeed+Dating%E2%80%9D+on+April+9+which+is+the+first+of+a+four-part+series+choreographed+by+Betsy+Sumerfield.+The+dance+was+set+to+the+song+%E2%80%9CSwing+Set%E2%80%9D+by+Jurassic+5.+
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Allegheny dancers swing into spring

Autumn Recke, ‘17, and Akeem Bridgeman, ‘16, perform in “Speed Dating” on April 9 which is the first of a four-part series choreographed by Betsy Sumerfield. The dance was set to the song “Swing Set” by Jurassic 5.

Autumn Recke, ‘17, and Akeem Bridgeman, ‘16, perform in “Speed Dating” on April 9 which is the first of a four-part series choreographed by Betsy Sumerfield. The dance was set to the song “Swing Set” by Jurassic 5.

Amasa Smith

Autumn Recke, ‘17, and Akeem Bridgeman, ‘16, perform in “Speed Dating” on April 9 which is the first of a four-part series choreographed by Betsy Sumerfield. The dance was set to the song “Swing Set” by Jurassic 5.

Amasa Smith

Amasa Smith

Autumn Recke, ‘17, and Akeem Bridgeman, ‘16, perform in “Speed Dating” on April 9 which is the first of a four-part series choreographed by Betsy Sumerfield. The dance was set to the song “Swing Set” by Jurassic 5.

Madison Sieber, Contributing Writer

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Eleanor Weisman, left, and Jay Hanes perform in a piece entitled, “Compress, Impulse, Express.” The pair choreographed and performed their piece to music played by Hanes.

Amasa Smith
Eleanor Weisman, left, and Jay Hanes perform in a piece entitled, “Compress, Impulse, Express.” The pair choreographed and performed their piece to music played by Hanes.

Dancers perform “Earth Potential: Glomalin and Carbon Sequestration” conceived and directed by Eleanor Weisman.

Amasa Smith
Dancers perform “Earth Potential: Glomalin and Carbon Sequestration” conceived and directed by Eleanor Weisman.

Yilin Zhu, ‘17, was one of the dancers who performed in “Don Quixote.” Her dance was inspired by Esmeralda from The Hunchback of Notre-Dame.

Amasa Smith
Yilin Zhu, ‘17, was one of the dancers who performed in “Don Quixote.” Her dance was inspired by Esmeralda from The Hunchback of Notre-Dame.

Last week the dance and movement department held their annual spring dance concert in the Montgomery Performance Space. The performances varied greatly in style, with pieces ranging from dancers dressed in spandex bags sprawling their arms to cover other dancers to more traditional dances such as ballroom dancing. The concert ran April 9-11.

Casey Freed, ’16, has participated in the spring concert for the past two years at Allegheny. In this year’s concert, she participated in two dances. One of the dances Freed participated in was choreographed by James Reedy, a professor in the Dance and Movement Department.

“I liked the evolution of James’s piece. Five of us started the semester in it and it ended up being the three of us. Every rehearsal it would evolve into something more. Whatever it was on the day of the performance, it was,” said Freed. Freed is a dance minor and has taken Reedy’s dance classes during her time at Allegheny.

The other piece that Freed participated in was Betsy Sumerfield’s piece entitled “Nen Iuvenis.” Sumerfield is a professor in the dance and movement department and students from her advanced ballroom dancing class participated in the concert. Sumerfield also choreographed four dances in a series entitled, “The Nature of Things.” The dances, “Speed Dating,” “The Proposal,” “The Wedding” and “Celebration,” escalated in the progression.

“Nen Iuvenis” was a piece that Sumerfield described as something that had been playing around in her head for a while. The piece started off with all of the dancers in colorful, loose clothing. The dancers began to play hopscotch on stage and to embody children in the beginning of the performance. Slowly, the colors started to fade from the dancers as they went off stage. They changed into black clothing until the entire stage was filled with dancers struggling to find the child they previously played on stage and they all were dressed in the same uniform black costumes.

“The piece was inspired by No Child Left Behind,” said Sumerfield. No Child Left Behind was an initiative by former President George W. Bush to test the achievement of children through standardize testing. As a result in many schools the curriculum became geared towards passing the tests instead of focusing on learning and creativity in the classroom.

“It was my son’s story. When he was little in school, I told him to not let them take away your imagination. They just wanted him to be able to regurgitate information,” said Sumerfield.

Sumerfield coordinated with John Hyatt to create the original score for the piece. Hyatt works with creating landscapes and coordinated a band to play for Sumerfields piece. Hyatt and Sumerfield worked together during rehearsals to create a score that fit the dance.

“The only reason the pieces turn out they way they do is because of the dedication of the cast. They deserve the credit,” said Sumerfield

Irvin Hoeflick, ’18, was also in Sumerfield’s “Nen Iuvenis.” Hoeflick is a dance minor and practiced three nights a week for the performance.

“I would spend Thursday nights practicing for the number. There were videos that we could watch to help us practice,” said Hoeflick.

Hoeflick was also able to see some of the other dances performed in the spring concert. One of the dances that was less conventional was “Earth Potential: Glomalin and Carbon Sequestration.” The dance consisted of people in spandex bags thrashing their arms around each other on stage.

“At first I thought it was a piece about people fighting against change,” Hoeflick said. “I didn’t know it was supposed to be about bacteria.”

Hoeflick saw the inside of the bags and said that he would not enjoy being inside the bags.

“The material is so thick you can’t see anything,” Hoeflick said. “I still think they are really cool though.”

The spring dance concert was nearly sold out on Saturday night and required reservations to attend throughout its run last week.