MainStage prepares for DanceWorks

Six student choreographers and an internationally acclaimed guest artist will present seven unique performances Thursday through Saturday as part of the annual Fall DanceWorks 2010 performance.

DanceWorks, which is presented by the dance department in the fall and spring semesters, will be directed by Anthony Gongora this fall. Gongora, who has had personal experience with many dance companies – like Loretta Livingston and Dancers and Chicago Repertory Dance Ensemble – believes dance is a “fundamental form of human expression.”

“It touches you in a very primal place, so that you understand it immediately,” said Gongora.

Gongora said he still finds the dancers’ “process and passion” inspiring after years in the industry. He said he lovingly developed a feeling of comfort and unity at each rehearsal for the six student choreographers and their dancers.

The works of Jessi Mann, Annika Moller, Molly Berger, Kathryn Boland, Liz Barnett and Allie Pinel will be showcased this weekend.

Carefully selected for the showcase, the students will present six diverse performances: “Playground Love,” “Holes to Heaven,” “Thandadantu,” “Wanting for Something,” “Intrigue” and “Counting Days Until Nothing.”

To junior Michael J. Kim, a dancer studying economics and dance, his favorite part of the production is the individuality of each performance.

Allie Pinel, a senior choreographer studying art history and dance, will present her piece, “Counting Days Until Nothing,” as part of her honors thesis for the dance department. The piece focuses on issues surrounding the Berlin Wall.

DanceWorks offers students the ability to perform and choreograph pieces for the stage on a larger scale, instead of just learning in a classroom setting – but there is still a student twist.

“In the real world, you have to pay for lighting, costumes, audition and practice spaces. Here, everything is at our disposal and free,” said Pinel.

Dancer Lydia Mokdessi, a junior majoring in English and dance, said the performance is “an opportunity to work with students in a low-pressure setting.” To Mokdessi, DanceWorks also emulates the world of dance outside of GW.

But even on GW’s campus, DanceWorks attempts to bring in the outside world of dance with guest artists like Susan Rethorst, which offers a unique opportunity for dancers and choreographers in the production to work with an established choreographer. Rethorst, an internationally acclaimed artist, has had her work displayed in the Museum of Modern Art and the Holland Festival, to name a few. Rethorst has also created her own piece, “You,” which will be presented at the performance.

But the department isn’t only catering to its own kind – Gongora wants to see “everyone, students, professors, friends, family, at this incredible show.”

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