Dance department holds auditions for groups

John Balchak and Bri Heath

Auditions were held on Saturday, Aug. 29 for the City College Dance Department’s performing artists.

In a warm C building studio, Terry Shipman led a modern dance group.

“Look up at the beautiful snow,” she instructed the ten students following her. As they held their positions and raised their heads she said, “Remember, the performance will take place on Dec. 4 and 5.”

The auditions were held to determine which students would take part in the end of semester shows.

Only students enrolled in the dance department were eligible to participate, and those chosen for a group must agree to attend rehearsals and be given add codes, as with any class.

“There are group pieces and also solo dancers,” Shipman said. “It takes 15 people to fill a group. There are faculty and student choreographers.”

Students auditioning had many different styles of dance groups to choose from. Modern and ethnic were represented along with hip-hop and even ballet. Hip-hop was the most popular with two groups totaling more than 20 dancers trying out.

Backing music ranged from new-age to funky rap and included such artists as Metallica, Bjork, and Mancini. Choreographers had only recently created these routines and dancers displayed the raw material that they will refine together over the next three months.

“It’s an exciting time with lots of new people and talent,” said Professor Alicia Rincon, co-chair of the Visual and Performing Arts Department in Dance. “The students have an opportunity to develop ideas with their peers and to be resourceful because there is only one dance studio on campus”

“Each piece is required to meet certain criteria,” explained Rincon. “First, the song must be a certain length. Second, the dance must have a beginning, middle and end. Third, the choreography should develop. And finally, the dancer’s technique must be up to par.”

At least 45 students of varying experience levels competed for spots in whichever groups they chose. Rincon estimated that about 80 percent of the dancers who audition make it into the show.

“The Dance Department faculty are stellar and always an inspiration,” she said. “The students and faculty share ideas to raise the bar. I look forward to seeing the clever, new innovations that students come up with.”

One student auditioning was Greg Wassil. He is a student choreographer who has been enrolled in the music theater department for one year. He auditioned as a ballet performer.

“After one year, I’ve learned to move,” Wassil said, as he practiced graceful steps. In respect to the Dance Department, he said, “I like to work with fellow students and hope to also continue developing my theater and singing skills.”

The City College Dance Department’s goals are to convey emotion and culture through an understanding of aesthetic values. Dance is one of six options in the college’s Visual and Performing Arts program. The program prepares students to perform or work in the field of dance.

“This audition process is a great experience for all in the department,” Rincon said. “The whole dance program is involved and the students are excited.”