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Campus Arts: Dance Hits the Heights

First-Ever ‘Week of Dance’ Runs Nov. 30-Dec. 5

11/12/15
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“When I first arrived there was one performing group,” recalls University Artist-in-Residence Robert VerEecke, SJ, a dancer and choreographer at BC for almost 40 years. “I am amazed and delighted by the growth of interest in dance of all kinds.” (Photo by Cindy Chen)

By Rosanne Pellegrini | Chronicle Staff

Published: Nov. 12, 2015

Calling it “an ambitious new endeavor,” Arts Council Chair and Associate Professor of Theatre Crystal Tiala said the upcoming “Week of Dance” – Nov. 30 through Dec. 5 – “is an opportunity to showcase the hard work of our student dancers, and is bound to be an enormous success.”

Sponsored by the Arts Council and the Robsham Theater Arts Center (RTAC), the initiative is an outgrowth of an effort to provide additional dance mentorship and performance opportunity.

“Participation in all styles of dance on campus has shown impressive growth over the past few years. Students seek to express their style, culture and personal aesthetic through this beautiful and physical art form,” according to Tiala, who is chair of the Theater Department.

The Week of Dance will feature related films, student-led workshops in various dance styles and an exhibition of photographs by Cindy Chen ’16. It will culminate with two dance showcases of original pieces choreographed and performed by members of the dozen participating BC dance organization.

Those groups embody a range of aesthetic and cultural dance styles. They include the BC Dance Ensemble, Dance Organization, Golden Eagles Dance Team, FISTS, Fuego del Corazon, Full Swing, BC Irish Dance, Masti, On Tap, Sexual Chocolate, Synergy and VIP.

“Full Swing is extremely excited to have the opportunity to perform with the Arts Council’s Week of Dance, since this week will bring dance to the entire BC community,” said president Danielle Nista ’16.

The swing-dancing group will perform a lindy hop piece to the song “Classic” by MKTO at the showcase, “blending the traditional with the modern,” noted Nista. The 60-member troupe specializes in teaching the lindy hop, offering weekly lessons to the BC community as well as performing at various campus events.

Some 10-15 photographs of the dance organizations taken by Chen – herself a Synergy member – will be on display in the RTAC lobby. An opening reception celebrating her body of work will be held there Nov. 30 from 6-7 p.m. Chen titled her week-long exhibit “Pique” because “it is a dance term [in classical ballet] and also a verb that is used to stimulate interest and conversation.”

On Dec. 4 and 5, at 7:30 p.m., dance in all genres will be presented, as the various dance organizations perform on the RTAC main stage. Tickets are $10 per person and may be purchased the week of the performances beginning Nov. 30 via the RTAC Box Office or online at www.bc.edu/robsham/tickets. If the performances are not sold out, tickets also may be purchased at the door.

The 28-member Irish Dance Club will perform to both traditional and modern music when it takes the stage.

“BCID is thrilled to be a part of Week of Dance. We love getting to work with other members of the dance community at BC, and look at it as a way to expand dance’s influence on and off campus,” said co-president Betsy Hughes ’16. “It will be an amazing opportunity for all of the dance community to show our shared passions and eclectic styles to the wider BC community, providing us with an outlet for performance and BC with a chance to have fun and appreciate dance.”

During the week, student dancers will lead workshops at the Brighton Dance Studio. On Dec. 1 at 4 p.m., Masti will offer instruction on cultural Indian and Bollywood-style dance; at 5 p.m., the focus will switch to hip-hop with UpRising, and at 6 p.m., the Dance Ensemble will demonstrate jazz, ballet and modern dance.  On Dec. 2, tap will literally be “On Tap” when the group leads a 5 p.m. session followed by a 6 p.m. presentation of jazz, modern and ballet styles by the Dance Organization. Hip-hop will be the theme on Dec. 3, with workshops lead by the groups Phaymus (5 p.m.) and Synergy (6 p.m.).

“Teaching people about dance and how to dance are big parts of Full Swing’s mission, and we feel that Week of Dance will give BC students the unique chance not only to watch dance performances but also to participate in workshops and other events,” said Nista.

The Nov. 30 “Dance Movie Madness” event on the RTAC main stage will include screenings of “Dirty Dancing” (7 p.m.) and “Stomp the Yard” (9 p.m.).

Artist-in-Residence Robert VerEecke, SJ, an acclaimed dancer and choreographer who has been involved with dance at Boston College for almost 40 years, said the weeklong celebration illustrates how integral dance has become to the BC community.

“When I first arrived there was one performing group. I am amazed and delighted by the growth of interest in dance of all kinds. I’m particularly grateful for the course offerings in the Theatre Department as well as the beautiful dance studio on the Brighton Campus.”

With the exception of the evening dance performances, which have an admission cost, all Week of Dance events are free and open to the public. For information visit the Arts Council website.