By Marisa Weinberg
The East Stroudsburg University Dance Company preformed their semi-annual winter show November 16th, 17th, 18th, and 19th at 7pm each night, in the Abeloff building of performing arts on campus.
Ticket prices started at $4 for students, $6 for faculty, and $8 for the general public. After the money exchanges were completed, tickets and programs were handed to each person, and then at 7pm sharp the doors were closed.
The dance company, which is under the direction of Dr.Elizabeth Gibbons, featured nine dances this year with a short intermission in-between. Dances ranged from contemporary, to pointe, and showed off the finest of the University’s dancers. Dancers used different props such as chairs, sheets of fabric, and even incorporated the audience into the performances.
The University Dance Company, or UDC as members and students on campus call it, consists typically of 15-35 students both male and female, ranging from freshman to seniors. This year’s company, although smaller in number; was not short on talent.
As students, faculty, and other members of the community entered the building and took their seats, the lights turned off as Gibbons walked onto the stage.
Meanwhile, backstage, the dancers have a tradition of their own. A “secret buddies,” present exchange occurs every night as a good luck incentive. From little gestures, such as mirror decorations, all the way to bouquets of flowers, the downstairs dressing rooms are a home away from home for the dancers.
Gibbons continued with her welcoming speech, and announced the show would be starting. Lights lit up extravagant blues and purples, as dancers gracefully started their movements.
Senior in the company, Joe Defontes choreographed two pieces for this semesters show. A number that left the audience talking titled, Reaching out, was one of them. Company member Nikolette Volpe said, “This piece touched so many people, it told a story all too many of us are unfortunately familiar with.”
Defontes said, “I was inspired by The Trevor Project (www.thetrevorproject.org) a non-profit organization that promotes suicide awareness and prevention.” The organization specializes in work with the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bi, transgender) community.
His piece was centered on an individual who was shown to be struggling with mixed emotions throughout the dance and thoughts of suicide.
Defontes second dance reflected the feeling of being stuck in a dark place or situation that someone did not want to be in. The dance depicted the struggle to move on from that place in order to change paths in the future. Defontes chose to feature just one other dancer in this piece alongside him. The duo wore handcuffs throughout the dance as they struggled through its entirety to get them off as if becoming free of their struggles.
When asked about UDC, Volpe, said, “The Company allows us to express ourselves through movement, and we get to show these feelings to everyone who comes to watch.” She continued, “The Company is a family in its own, we all feel the same way about dance and we celebrate that.”