Twelve graduating seniors took their final bows as Colby-Sawyer dancers as the college’s Dance Club presented An Evening of Dance on March 31 and April 1 in the Sawyer Fine Arts Center theater.
The production, one of two annual performances sponsored by the club, was the culmination of a semester’s worth of work by the club’s six officers, Sierra Rossi ’23, Delaney Campisano ’23, Brenna Tobin ’23, Mary Steward ’23, Hope Higgins ’23 and Jenna CaraDonna ’23, as well as the club’s other members.
“They pretty much come back from (winter) break and hit the ground running,” club advisor and Colby-Sawyer Area Coordinator Michael T. Brown II said. “I believe they had their first club meeting in January. For that first meeting, choreographers come up with their dances, pitches and rehearsal slots ready to present to the rest of the dancers. The next week they start rehearsing.”
Rehearsals evolved into 25 routines choreographed by 17 students. Forty-two dancers appeared in the production, which according to Rossi, the club’s president, is the largest ensemble to be featured in her four years at the college.
“The dance show has always been a fun experience because we love the hype the crowd brings and we’re all there to just have fun,” Rossi said. “Some of the other dancers have backgrounds in dance and they worked with those who have no experience to build their confidence and teach them new skills.”
The production included performance pieces in a variety of styles, including jazz, modern, lyric, contemporary and tap. Though many dancers performed in multiple pieces, the configuration of dancers changed continually, ranging from some pieces that featured duets to others that featured the full 42-person ensemble.
Students were actively involved behind the scenes of the production as well. The student lighting crew, under the direction of Assistant Professor and Technical Director Michael Lovell, managed the technical aspects of the production.
“They were awesome,” Rossi said of the lighting crew. “They did amazing lights, well with the music, and stayed calm and composed during the shows, which helped us when we were stressing backstage.”
Dancers also contributed to the backstage work of the production.
“All of our dancers jumped in to help in any ways they could, whether it be the Marley floors, helping dancers with quick changes, (or) expressing support and enthusiasm leading up to the shows,” Rossi said.
Their collaboration built a strong bond among club members. Rossi said that the process could be stressful, with “tech week” preparation running until 10:30 p.m. each evening, followed by final dress rehearsals to make sure that everything would run smoothly. To get club members through the stress, club officers planned bonding sessions including a notecard tradition that gave dancers an opportunity to show their support and cheer each other on.
Rossi said that many members had experienced negative dynamics in previous dance studios or dance schools, and the officers wanted to make sure that they had a different experience at Colby-Sawyer.
“Without Dance Club we would have never had a space where we felt respected and supported [as dancers],” Rossi said. "This club is a family.”
In addition to the six officers, Dance Club members Nina Boudreau ’23, Kara Colvin ’23, Andrew Davison ’23, Symantha Fortin ’23, Cecilia LaFlamme ’23 and Ashley St. Louis ’23 will also graduate in May.