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Students rise to the challenge in "The Choreographers' Showcase"

Two dancers follow each other closely in "The Choreographers' Showcase." (ONU photo/Office of Communications & Marketing)

And five, six, seven, eight!

Competing for a leading role in a theatrical production is hard enough, but directing, choreographing, or designing a college production is a different challenge. For Joelle Farano, Joshua Heard, Kaitlin Jempson, and Rachel Paul, it has been a dream come true. Seeing their work become masterpieces on the stage never grows old to the four, and the moment they have been waiting for has finally arrived – show time.

Curtains will rise in the Freed Center for the Performing Arts on Saturday, Jan. 31 at 7:30 p.m. and on Sunday, Feb. 1 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $5 for all ONU students and can be purchased at the Freed Center’s box office prior to the show.

The rehearsal process was not always easy. This show required multiple hands and dancing shoes to think of new ways to make each dance fun and exciting for the dancers involved in the show.

“This is the first time I’ve been able to choreograph a show in college, so I felt that there was a lot of pressure to create something that everyone would understand and find relatable,” said Paul.

Each student choreographer was able to work on a select number of dance pieces in the show with visiting choreographers, Bobby Wesner and Thom Cobb, as well as the individuals they look up to, their instructors, Laurie Bell, Brenda Hoyt-Brackman, and Elizabeth Cozad.

Student choreographers contributed to every aspect of the show, from the creation phase to the final dress rehearsal. They were a part of it all.

“I’m very much a storyteller. When I decided on a piece that I wanted to produce, I wanted to tell a story, which is very difficult to do with a short rehearsal time period. I really love the piece that has come out of the rehearsals. I very much look forward to seeing the audience reactions and their interpretations of the story that I am trying to tell,” Paul added.

Everybody involved in the show feels proud to be chosen to become an important player in the creation of an exciting dance showcase. For Bell, chairman of the Department of Theatre Arts, this is her favorite production of the season because it holds a special place in her heart – her love for dance.

“This is an amazing opportunity for our students to play a large role in the creation of an entire concert. We have students involved as choreographers, lighting designers, and dancers. It is always something to look forward to seeing the artistic and creative efforts of our students, a culmination of all that they’ve learned so far, up on the stage,” she remarked.

Select dance numbers from the show include “Perfect,” choreographed by Paul; “Too Darn Hot,” choreographer by Jempson; “A Little Party,” choreographed by Heard; and “To My Sister: The Blue Umbrella,” choreographed by Farano.

Dancers are Riley Alexander, Sybil Anast, Bella Balzano, Jennifer Barnaba, Liza Benedict, Meredith Bergwall, Amanda Black, Elena Coleman, Katie Cooperrider, Katie Elsass, Meredith Fabo, Madeline Gish, David James Grant, Talia Heskett, and Haley Holtje.

Also, James Garrett Hill, Michelle Hitchcock, Katie Hotz, Veronica Hrovat, Sarah Keune, Evan A. LaChance, Alexa Lammers, Taryn Lester, Samantha Loomis, David Loughney, Tyler Matanick, Brady Miller, Kayla Nida, Leah Philipp, and Bailey Platz.

Other dancers are Sarah Pribulsky, Taylor Rhew, Patrick Riley, Kristina Sarris, Emma Scannell, Emily Schmid, Amanda Jo Shigle, Lauren Staley, Isaac Steinhour, Megan Timmons, Lauren Utrup, Jolene Vincel, Grace Vining, Sydney Walton, Makayla Wells, Rebecca Worden, and Olivia Zednick. 


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