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The Blue & Gray Press | October 21, 2017

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Performing Arts Club Showcases Versatility

By Tim St. Onge
From an exotic soundscape by Yo-Yo Ma to the hard rock power of Bon Jovi, there seemed to be no style of music the dancers of UMW’s Performing Arts Club couldn’t master at the club’s spring performance last weekend, titled Beyond Falling.
Performing Saturday night and Sunday afternoon, the Performing Arts Club danced through a dozen songs with grace and skill.
Honoring this year’s graduating seniors, the first dance was performed by the seniors in the club, including Ashley Anderson, Meghan Clay, Krista Day, Allison Esposito, Meredith Nowlin, Marija Ozolins, Amanda Schlener, and Jennifer Yox.
At the conclusion of show, parents of seniors performing their final club recitals were commended for their years of support with roses and a round of applause from the sizable audience.
The show encompassed a variety of dance styles like ballet, jazz, modern, and hip hop, set to artists as varied as Imogen Heap, Marilyn Manson, and Arcade Fire.
The final dance of the performance was an exhilarating tap dance inspired by music from the movie Drumline.
In addition to a strong performance from the dancers, the dramatic lighting of the stage, courtesy of senior Colleen Earp, junior Eva Richardson and junior Beth White, created a truly captivating scene.
The highly detailed choreography work was central to the show’s success.  Choreographer and adjunct UMW faculty member Beverly Mendez and ’07 graduate Natasha Kowalchuk choreographed dances set to Kelly Clarkson and Marilyn Manson, respectively.
The other ten dances were coordinated by current Performing Arts Club members, including seniors Meghan Clay, Jennifer Yox, Allison Esposito and Krista Dray, junior Alex Lindemann, and sophomores Emily Sack, Meredith Tice, Caroline Simpson, and Allie Sleeman.
The $2 entrance fee for students went towards reimbursing the efforts of dancers, who had to provide their own costumes and props for the performance.
Dancers like freshman Meredith Downes were proud of their performance.  “The show ran really smoothly and all of the performers were confident that we would have a successful show,” she said.
Through the many hours of rehearsal, she said,
“We knew that giving every ounce of energy would pay off.”  Fellow performer and freshman Becky Baltrusaitis mirrored her thoughts on the show.
“Every dance was different and the last week leading up to the show was pretty crazy,” she said, “but the show was a major success thanks to the hard work of everyone involved.”
Audience members were enthusiastic about the quality of the show as well.  Sophomore Mary Bennett lauded the “great variety in the show” and sophomore Jessica Song said the performance was “really beautiful and fun to watch.
The appreciative crowd evidently felt the performers’ commitment to the dances.  For senior Annie Strumpell, “the performers seemed to have a passion for what they were doing, which made the performance especially enjoyable.