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The Blue & Gray Press | February 26, 2018

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Original Student Dance Numbers Shine at ‘Eugenius’

By HOPE RACINE

It was a busy weekend for the Performing Arts Club, as they put on their Fall Big Show.
PAC performed the show, entitled “Eugenius,” twice; once Friday, Nov. 16th, and again on Sunday, Nov. 18.  The show comprised of a series of original dance numbers that students in PAC choreographed and performed.
The dances ranged from contemporary to hip-hop to tap dance, pulling in a variety of influences and keeping each number unique and fresh.
There were several standout performances of the night, such as a dance titled “Not Your Superman,” choreographed by Sarah Joy Calpo, a junior and English major focused on creative writing. Sophomore Mason Prince, a psychology and English with a focus on creative writing double major and one of the few male members of PAC, soloed in the performance alongside sophomore dancer Chelsea Kopf, a business administration major, as they interpreted a love story.
Another notable performance was the tap dance number choreographed by Sarah Sanders. The tap routine was a step back in the past, as “Hold Tight” by the Andrew Sisters played and the girls on stage smiled broadly and tapped along to the beat.
Ben Shannon, a graduate student at Virginia Tech who saw the show on Friday while visiting friends, wasn’t impressed with the quality of the show.
“I think the uniformity was questionable,” said Shannon.
Sophomore and economics major James King, disagreed, however.
“It was really happy. It made you want to smile,” King said.
In stark contrast to the upbeat, feel-good tap routine was “Through the Cracks (Heavy),” an intense routine choreographed by Anne Grasselli and set to various dubstep remixes. The dancers were all dressed in imposing black outfits and moved with impressive precision and sharpness.
“They looked like they were going to kill someone, but in a good way,” said Shannon.
During Friday night’s intermission, various alumni and faculty involved in PAC came on the stage to award scholarships to two of the dancers in the club, juniors Gaelyn Quirey, a junior anthropology major in the education program, and Molly Baldovin, a junior majoring in business. Quirey was awarded the Claudia Moore Read Scholarship in Dance, while Baldovin received the Sonja D. Haydar Scholarship in Dance.
The scholarships were intended to further the appreciation for dance on campus and were awarded to full-time students in good standing with the school who had made a great contribution to dance and PAC.
Students who were interested in the scholarships wrote essays and went through an interview process in which they discussed what dance meant to them and their plans for dance in the future.
Both Quirey and Baldovin choreographed dances that were in the show. Quirey choreographed a number called “Shattered Souls,” which employed the use of drastic shadows cast by the dancers to bring the story to life on stage and make it appear dramatic.
Baldovin’s number was a cheery piece titled “The Names We Used to Know,” a colorful dance where an army of dancers wore brightly colored tutus and celebrated the passing of childhood.
The Big Show gave students the unique opportunity to show off their skills, choreograph dances, create costumes and design lighting effects. Since UMW does not have a dance major, PAC fills the hole for those students who wish to continue their passion for dance throughout college.
“I really enjoyed the show,” said King. “It was just really great to get the chance to see my friends and other dancers laying their souls bare up there for dance.”