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Lights…Camera…SHOWTIME!

The weekend before last, students gathered to the Eynon Ballroom in the Chamberlain Student Center to see the production of Kill Me Now: Rowan Edition.  After months of advertising and promoting and rehearsing, it was time to see which contestant would win this “dance competition”.

This show has been modeled after such popular TV reality series like; “Dancing with the Stars”, “So You Think You Can Dance” and “Dance Wars”. The exciting, fast paced, and interactive atmosphere entices the audience in a  journey that leads to the ultimate destruction of the contestants whose lust for fame is weighed against their will to live.

I’ve been extremely excited to cover this story since I knew it was going to be put onto the stage.  My audio interview with Melanie Stewart went fantastic and she really gave myself and my blog readers insight and background to Kill Me Now: Rowan Edition’s meaning and reasoning for being here at Rowan.

As show time grew closer, the atmosphere held a light buzz.  The ballroom was transformed into a spectacular stage set up with dozens of chairs to accommodate the audience members.

After the show, I had the chance to talk to one of the contestants, Katarzyna Putyrski.  But more importantly, I was able to hear from the actress herself, Allyn Mérida.  She is a junior at Rowan University studying dance and she says that being a part of Kill Me Now was one of the best experiences she has had thus far here at Rowan.

“I have grown so much a performer and I have this show and the cast of Kill Me Now to thank for. I would not be the performer I am today without the wonderful Melanie Stewart who has always had faith in me and pushed me to my limits throughout this whole process.  I am left with so many great memories. This cast has created such a close bond with one another that we are now a family.”

Merida has spent the entire semester working to perfect her role as Katarzyna Putyrski.  “I love Katarzyna Putyrski she is such a charming and innocent girl, that creating her was such a joy. I am very pleased of how the audience responded to her each night and that people liked her even with her speech impediment. I would certainly do this whole project again if I could.”

The show went off with a hit if you were all wondering.  The 8pm shows all three nights on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday were sold out by 7pm.  Each night and each show, a different contestant won the “competition” and each contestant was killed off at different times in the performance, which always allowed for an entertained crowd.

Samantha DeBonis, a junior at Rowan, is a member of Dance Extensions.  Dance Extensions was the group of Kill Me Now Dancers that performed in the beginning of the show, the end of the show, and added in some parts in between competition rounds.  DeBonis said, “Being apart of Kill Me Now was an amazing opportunity to be apart of an event that Rowan has never seen. I felt like I was involved in something bigger then myself, that Rowan almost wasn’t even ready for what we had prepared, and I loved that thrill factor.”

“The show’s content is completely different from any other show. We are now going into an era where dance theatre is getting more and more popular.”

There is, however, that underlying message of not being good enough and what a dance competition and the judging of someone really reveals.  Merida had a personal experience with that once so she knew all too well how each contestant should feel and how to portray that on the stage.

“This show has opened my eyes on how America really feeds into these reality tv shows. I myself who am not only guilty on watching some of these show, have actually auditioned  to be a part of one and the show that I auditioned for was “So You Think You Can Dance.” I experienced everything first handily and  I witnessed everything that was discussed during rehearsal. As I was being considered as a potential contestant I was standing there not knowing what my fate would bring.  Once  the judges came in agreement to their final judgment and told me “no”, I stood there with a big smile on my face replied “thank you” and proceeded off the stage with my walk of shame as the cameras followed me.”

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It’s not so long, it’s see you later.

As the semester comes to a close, so must this blog assignment.  I do however promise you readers updates from time and again.  This blog won’t stop completely.  I plan on posting about different upcoming dance related events on campus.  I’ve gotten a ton of positive feedback from readers and people who are genuinely interested in seeing what the dance department has to offer the Rowan community.

In the process of my blogging I have definitely learned to be a better writer in the “spur of the moment” and to not be afraid to talk to people.  Most are willing to talk, some more than others, and if you’re just confident and knowledgable about your experiences and your subjects, a good blog post will come out of it.  Blogging is certainly something I enjoy and I didn’t think I would.  It’s not my favorite and it isn’t something I see in my career future, but it will be something I keep up with from time to time so stay on top of my skills and be a well-rounded journalist.

I’ve had a lot of fun with this blog, especially talking to and getting the opinions of different people involved in the dance department, like Brittany Griffiths and Melanie Stewart.  I also really enjoyed taking pictures and videotaping the different dance classes and company rehearsals that Rowan offers.  Most students on campus don’t realize how much there is to offer whether it be classes, companies, dance teams, productions (both past and present), shows, and just some of the nicest and most humble people I’ve met here at Rowan.

I hope that this blog has brought insight to those with questions and sparked the interest to possibly pursue either a major or a minor in dance.

So for now it is adios, but i’ll be writing soon!

-Deanna

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As the semester comes to a close, students begin to pick up the pace.

Gia Gallone, a 19-year-old sophomore, talks about her Modern I class and the preparations for their final exam.  This Monday, Wednesday 1:45-3 class is full of students with dance backgrounds and non-dance backgrounds.  Nonetheless, all of them are working hard to perfect all they have learned this semester.

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Blast From the Past…A look at dance productions, both past and present, on campus.

There have been many dance productions at Rowan in just the past three years alone.  I have compiled a list of titles, choreographers, descriptions, and dates and time for some of the shows.  I attempted to use a timeline making site, but you know the internet these days, so lovely and reliable.

Fetiche

Choreographed and directed by Paule Turner

Fetiche-oj 1

Fetiche was put to the stage on April 29th-May 2nd of 2010 in Tohill Theatre in Bunce Hall.  This production was put on by the members of the contemporary dance group, Dance Extensions.

 

Missing: A Lament for a Lost Child

Choreographed and directed by Paule Turner

missing

Missing was a production that presented itself a little differently than past productions.  This piece was performed outside in the grassy area, Rowan Hall Green, between Wilson Hall and Rowan Hall.  The show was preformed on April 14th-16th in Spring of 2011.  The cast was all members of Dance Extensions.

Missing: A Lament for a Lost Child was about simply that.  There was no actual child in the piece, but all of the dancers were those looking for the child.  Before the piece even began, audience members had to make their way around the nature path behind Rowan Hall where they were in close proximity to the dancers “looking” for the child.  They carried flashlights and wore orange jump suits with their titles on the back.  The titles consisted of mother, sister, teacher, father, aunt, cousin, neighbor, etc.  The dancers weaved in and out of trees and walked across the path and just searched.  As all audience members found their seats, the cast made their way to Rowan Hall Green and put on the show.

The feel of the dance was eerie, yet inspiring.  As the students dance, the sunlight decreased and by the end of the piece, there were lights directed in the direction of the show and the sun had gone down.  Although the boy was never found, audience members got a good look at what it’s like to lose a loved one and spend every waking minute figuring out why and looking for them.

 

Will you Marry me Pina Bausch?

Choreographed and directed by Paule Turner

pina_opt

Will You Marry Me Pina Bausch? was put on stage December 8th-11th 2011 in the Tohill Theater in Bunce Hall last fall.  This piece had different students casted from the theatre and dance department at Rowan, 17 students to be exact, but there will only four that were mainly focused on during the show. The program specially said to not try to locate a theme during the two-hour because there was no exact theme.  The only thing that could be classified as a “theme” would be the question of, what is the essence of love?

That is a question that has gone unanswered directly for many years, with different artists trying to figure out the correct interpretation.  There were many different emotions and acts that were depicted on the stage and at the end of the piece, a final note is said that shed some extremely important light on the unanswered question of love.  That statement, made by on of the actors, Joe Grasso, who served an important role in the show, was that love is like an unattended swimming pool.  Swim at your own risk.

 

Terra Potesta

Choreographed and directed by Gregory Anmuth

Idea inspired by Lindsay Anmuth

terra

Terra Potesta was s student choreographed piece which was presented by the Lab Theatre.  The show was put on March 1st-4th in the spring of 2012 and the cast was made up of different Rowan students.  With eight cast members and a small black box space to perform in, Anmuth took the crowd by storm in an amazing depiction of a dream his sister had three years ago.  She documented her dream and called it, Terra Potesta, which, in Latin, means Masters of the Earth.  This dream, which Anmuth’s sister put online, was picked up in Britian and published in Campfire Stories, which you can purchase on Amazon.  Anmuth said that the title had a lot to do with the piece and that not only do he and his dancers tell out the dream, but go beyond the ending Lindsay Anmuth had. 

Audience members felt an extreme closeness with the dancers because there was no barrier or extreme amount of space between the performance space and the seats.  I happened to be in the front row and at times, I could hear the dancer’s breathing and literally see the sweat on their bodies.  This show was superb and used every inch of the space given, including the window sills, the back door, and the area outside of the back door. 

 

Revelations

Choreographed and directed by Paule Turner

revelations

This show was brought to the Tohill Theatre in Bunce Hall on April 26th-29th 2012.  The cast members were the dancers of the contemporary dance company at Rowan, Dance Extensions.  With punk rock and heavy metal as the soundtrack, this show has an intense feel and energy to it.

Revelations depicts and portrays today’s youths and what has been going on with them.  The fact that each year, more and more kids are getting in trouble and converting to harmful and noneffective behaviors and acts.  The future generations are in a world, if it is not brought to their attention, will be doomed and they will all fail.  The theme of this show is completely relevant in today’s society and that is why Paule chose it.  Dance Extensions spent many hours discussing the title and perfecting the movements and story line in a way that would make the audience understand.  Being in the performance, I got a better feel for what it all means and why Turner choreographed the way he did.

The cast of Revelations were supposed to portray a troubled group of high schoolers.  You had the bad kids, the good kids, the slut, the nerd, and the losers.  All of whom are on the journey though together.

 

Kill Me Now: Rowan Edition

A collaboration with John Clancy

Directed by Melanie Stewart

Kill me now

Kill Me Now is live dance competition show that has been molded from televisions shows and events that we see on television today.  The show will be performed in the Eynon Ballroom in the Student Center on December 6th-8th 2012.  Audience members will be able to participate in the competition and help be the deciding factor as to who will win.

The show modeled after such popular TV reality series as; “Dancing with the Stars”, “So You Think You Can Dance” and “Dance Wars”. The exciting, fast paced, and interactive atmosphere entices the audience in a  journey that leads to the ultimate destruction of the contestants whose lust for fame is weighed against their will to live.

This production has obviously not been performed yet, but it will be this weekend!  Dance Extensions makes an appearance in the show with the cast, so be sure to check it out.  You may even see a familiar face, hint hint me hint hint.

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A look at a rehearsal…

As many people know, photgraphing movement and dancing is very hard to do.  I have taken some photos of Dance Extensions in a rehearsal.  Advisor, Paule Turner, has been working with his company members to perfect the number they will be performing in the upcoming shows, Kill Me Now: Rowan Edition.

These photos include different member of the company along with Turner, including, Magan Kustera, D.J. Abel, Dana Orange, Glynis Neely, Aaron Peirce, Julia McHale, Brea Woodson, and La’Nise Ambrose.

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To be a dance major….how will your four years of college go?

As freshman, every student walks into their first class excited, anxious, scared, and nervous.  With the dance program, you never know what will come out of it.  The saying, “You get what you put into it”, is extremely relevant when it comes to being a dance major, or any theater major for that matter.

Being involved in crucial.  Auditioning for shows, joining teams and companies will only further your dance experience and involvement at Rowan University.  Even though the dance department is small compared to other majors, what they do is still big.  There are dozens of shows, plays, and concerts put onto the stage every year by different parts of the dance and theater department.

There are also certain classes that must be taken in a certain order, like most academic programs.

Just like Physical Education and Elementary Education, all dance majors and minors must take Elements of Dance.  There are a multiple number of these classes offered every semester and they are taught by numerous numbers of professors.

I took Elements of Dance my first semester of my freshman year with Professor Paule Turner.  The class was awesome and informative.  You get to practice and work with different types of dance.  You really break down the involvement and the “elements”.

After Elements of Dance is taken, students are open up to many different classes.  After talking to multiple dance advisors, it has come to my attention that classes are pretty much laid out for a dance major.

It is recommended that along with Elements, a freshman’s first semester should include Colloquium I, Stagecraft I, Intro to Theater and Dance, Dance Improv I, College Composition I, a Readings of Literature or choice elective, and a World History class or choice elective.

Then for the second semester of their freshman year, dancers move onto Colloquium II, Stage Craft II, Intro to Performance, Dance Improv II, College Composition II, a math choice, and a music or art choice.  By the end of the first and second semester, students should have at least 31 credits.  Not every one of these classes are 3 credit courses.  Some classes are 1.5 credits and some are .5 credits.  Unfortunately, dance majors sometimes find themselves taking more classes each semester than other students due to the small amount of credits that certain classes are.  That also depends on whether or not a student minors in something, which most college students do.

Sophomore year consists of Colloquium III, Costuming I, Dynamics of Human Movement, Modern Dance II, Public Speaking, and a Gen Ed of the student’s choice.  The next semester, Colloquium IV, Costuming II, Modern Dance III, Mass Media and Influence or student’s choice, a Lab Science choice, and a Gen Ed choice.  By the end of sophomore year, students should accumulate another 28 credits to go towards their overall cumulation.

Then junior year starts.  Again, during the first semester, students will register and complete Colloquium V, Theater or Dance History, Dance Composition I, Essentials of Psychology or choice, a Gen Ed, and a free elective.  The second semester of their junior year, students must take Colloquium VI, Theater or Dance History, 2 free electives and 2 Gen Eds. 

There is also a class called Choreography.  This class is only offered every other spring, so depending on what year it is, dance majors can either take the class the spring of their junior year or the spring of their senior year.  It all depends the year it falls on, but students must make sure that they take this course because it is required in order to graduate.  This class follows right after Dance Composition I.  Choreography is a course that helps students become better choreographers and know how to present to an audience and work with other dancers, costumes, lighting, music, etc.  The students in this class also showcase their pieces that they will be working on all semester in the spring dance concert, which is put on every other year, again, depending on when the course is offered.  This year is a good one because Choreography was a course selection for this past class registration.  So, the spring dance concert will be taking place and anyone can audition to help out theses students with their pieces and perform for the Rowan community.

A dance major’s senior year is pretty much all up to them.  They have to take Contemporary World Theater, a Gen Ed, and 3 free electives and then their last semester of college is finishing up Gen Eds and filling up with free electives.  Senior year is when students really get into the path of where they want to continue their careers after college and decide on what they want to do with their lives and the skills they have attained over the last 4 years.

I hope this has all helped a student aspiring to be a dance major!  Taking the path to be a professional in dance and earning a Bachelor’s Degree is exciting and full of amazing opportunities.  I wish I could be a dance major, but for those that are, I have only heard good stories and successful careers!

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Who is calling the shots? Or in this case, who is casting the “big shots”? Hear from Melanie Stewart, the director of Kill Me Now!

As many of my past readers may know, Kill Me Now is an upcoming performance at Rowan University.  Production is already in the process and the curtains open exactly 4 weeks from today.  I had the awesome opportunity to interview the director of the show, Melanie Stewart.  Stewart explains the idea behind this unique show, what inspired her to bring it to our Rowan community, and dishes on her eccentric cast of dance and theater majors.