Dance Program “breaks a leg” in preparation for Annual Spring Concert

The Annual Spring Concert will be held by the Dance Department in the Dorothy Dickson Darte Center at 8 p.m. on April 22. The event is free to the public and made up of both faculty and student-choreographed pieces. The faculty pieces have been created throughout the past semester’s classes including genres such as ballet, tap, jazz and modern.
Lynne Mariani, instructor of modern and jazz said, “The faculty spends most of the winter break coming up with ideas for dance pieces and selecting music. The students begin learning choreography for the dance concert early in the semester.”
She continued to say that they not only choreograph the dances, but they create lighting plots alongside the lighting designer, select and order costumes, and they put together the program information.
Professor Sean Harris explained his involvement in preparation for the show. In the beginning of the semester, he meets with his students to analyze their skill levels in dance and in particular tap dancing.
“Once I do that, I try to create a piece that will complement their skill level. After hours of listening to various musical selections as well as channeling artistic creativity, I present my idea to the class and I begin to choreograph a piece that represents the music as well as the performers.”
After that is done, they discuss costuming, rehearsal schedules, lighting, staging, facial expressions and more.
“After our final full dress rehearsal, my students are ready to perform the piece. What is unique about tap dancers, is they are not only dancers but also musicians playing percussive phrases with their feet. It is quite challenging,” Harris continued.
Senior nursing major, Madison Myers said, “Dancing at Wilkes has given me the opportunity to challenge myself and try different styles of dance with different teachers. I’ve made really great friends through dancing at Wilkes.”
She continued to talk about how she took the dance composition course this semester where she created her own dance.
“It was very challenging to create my own piece this semester. I never considered myself a choreographer so being able to challenge myself and create a dance was really rewarding in the end. Choreographing my piece entailed a lot of time and effort. It wasn’t easy for me. I had to schedule time out of my week to come up with choreography. It took overcoming scheduling conflicts and working with my dancer’s dance ability,” she said.
Myers is very excited for her friends and family to see her work. She’s also excited to dance at the concert since this might be her last time ever dancing at a recital.
Junior pharmacy major, Rachel Lazevinck said she’s excited for every aspect of the show.
She is a dance minor due to her love for the art of dance. She explained that dance has been a huge part of her life since she was very young, and to be able to continue her love for dance at Wilkes is what she wanted to do.
Dancing at Wilkes has given her a place to be herself and express herself. She admits that the dance program has challenged her a lot and she is doing things that she never thought she would be able to do.
“Lynne motivates me to do more and more every time I am in class. I have accomplished so many new things here at Wilkes through dance and I am excited to see what else I will learn and how much I will grow within the next few years,” Lazevinck said.
Mariani said that her favorite thing about the dance concert is watching the students’ excitement.
Lazevinck said, “The week leading up to the show I have so much adrenaline all week and it is such an exciting week. I am excited for everyone to see what we have all been working on this past semester. All of my friends and family wonder why I spend so much time at the DDD and I am excited to show them why and what I have been doing.”
The cast of the dance concert involves all of the students registered and taking dance classes for the Spring Semester in any of the following, Ballet, Jazz, Tap or Modern/Contemporary. If students are interested in adding a dance class to their schedule, they can sign up for a course or they can audit one of the courses.
“I always welcome anyone who would like to observe any of my classes to see if they’re interested,” Harris said.
Lazevnick suggested that any student who loves pushing themselves to do things they don’t think they can accomplish to pick up a dance minor or a dance class.
“It is a great way to express yourself and have a lot of fun doing it,” she said.
Harris said it best when saying, “ ‘Dancers are the athletes of God’ and the Spring Concert is our Championship Game.”