Dance Company Closes Semester with Spring Concert

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By Shannon Miller

Assistant News Editor

The Post Concert Dance Company (PCDC) will present dynamic dance pieces in the Spring Dance Concert from April 26-28, many of which are choreographed by its members. An 8 p.m. performance will take place each night at the Little Theatre Mainstage, and an additional 2 p.m. matinee is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday.

Senior dancers Mary Cate (Shannon Miller)Bottenus and Lauren Hiraldo go over spacing during rehearsal

PCDC, which consists of all dance majors, is committed to innovative and thoughtful new choreography. Members are required to take a course in choreography and are encouraged to do so during the first semester of sophomore year. The spring concert is a celebration of the dancers’ learning experiences, as well as the senior dancers who are the “life blood” of the program, according to Dr. Cara Gargano, chairperson of the theatre, dance and arts management department.

At the end of each semester, the company produces a concert showcasing pieces arranged by student members. The 2019 spring concert will include a company jazz and African number choreographed by seniors Mary Cate Bottenus and Lauren Hiraldo, who are graduating in May, and Josie McSwane, who plans to graduate in December. A pointe ballet number choreographed by Gargano will also be featured, along with a freshman class piece choreographed by adjunct professor of dance, Nancy Brier.

Students who have completed the choreography course and have registered for the choreography practicum are eligible to put together a piece for the show, according to Bottenus.

(Shannon Miller) Aaron Cooper conducts a spacing rehearsal with senior dancers Mary Cate Bottenus and Lauren Hiraldo

At the start of the semester, they fill out an application that includes a tentative title and music choice, a one sentence concept statement, and five items researched prior to choreographing and five items they plan to research while creating their piece.

Bottenus’ research inspired the title of her contemporary piece: “7 Minutes.” “Something that I didn’t know is that every seven minutes someone is bullied. In the beginning, you don’t realize how potentially important it can be to do the research on your concept, but it worked great for me,” she said.

This is Bottenus’ fifth time creating a piece for an end-of-semester concert, and she has chosen to choreograph to a speech instead of music. “Something I love aside from dance is working with kids with special needs. Everybody has experienced bullying in one way or another, whether you are a bystander, a victim, or the bully. So, I think it’s a very powerful piece,” she said. She plans to continue performing once she graduates; however, when her body finally tells her to call it quits, she hopes to combine her love of dance and working with special needs children by doing dance therapy.

Each dance’s concept is developed by the student choreographing; faculty is only there to guide and assist when needed. “Sometimes it’s really helpful to have another artistic perspective,” junior dance major and company member Andrew Teperdjian said. “I admit there are days where I just look at the piece and I want to change [something], and I have no idea what I want to do with it.” Teperdjian has also choreographed a piece for the concert that he describes as deep and spiritual.

McSwane, who also teaches at the Peconic Ballet Theatre in Riverhead, will feature an original piece with an important concept. “Mine is very kind of raw, and I wanted it to feel very human to the people who are watching it, and just kind of be drawn to the human experience even though it’s being shown through dance. It does have a message behind it, which I don’t want to give that away because I want it to be open to interpretation as well.”

Company members rehearsed in the evenings from 6:30 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. in preparation for the concert. Not only did they rehearse their choreographed pieces, but they also attend the scheduled rehearsals for the pieces they dance in, as well as the dances they under-study for. Each member must understudy for at least two pieces. “We dance a lot,” Bottenus said. “That’s why we’re here, and it’s great.”

Gargano is proud of her senior dancers and how much they have grown artistically. “We rely on them not only to model the kind of aesthetic we expect but also to mentor the other dancers,” she said. “They know I have great faith in them. This is their opportunity to shine.”

Tickets for the Spring Dance Concert can be purchased prior to showtime at www.Tix55.com for $15 each. LIU students can buy them at a discounted price of $10.

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