Is it possible for the motion of human bodies and the written word to meet? The Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts’ performing ensemble, the Dance Repertory Company (DRC), thinks yes.
Last weekend, the DRC, made up of students and faculty, as well as community members, performed their spring show with one performance each on Friday and Saturday at the Page Theatre. The show, titled “Words in Motion,” featured six unique works by five different composers and dancers ranging from 10 to 27 years old.
Tammy Schmidt, director of dance at Saint Mary’s, was the artistic director of the show.
“As artistic director, I chose the direction or theme of the show,” she explained. “Once the theme was solidified, I contacted four additional choreographers to create an evening.”
The pieces of written word that inspired the six performances ranged from fictional novels, to famous poetry, to a Dr. Seuss children’s story, to a single quote by Beethoven. As such, the styles of dance were also very different. The show included performances of ballet, hip-hop, tap, modern, and other forms of dancing.
A number of Saint Mary’s students performed in the show, helped with stage management, and worked on the crew. Senior Michael Keating performed in Schmidt’s piece “Hot Dishes and Memories,” as well as both of choreographer Jessica Dienger’s pieces, “Kid, You’ll Move Mountains” and “One Night at Gatsby’s.”
“I love when two mediums of art can come together as one,” Keating said. “The product becomes so synergistic. My favorite part is that the whole show is based on taking works of literature and bringing them to movement. It provides not only a challenge for the choreographer but also for the dancers.”
Saint Mary’s senior Michael Keating and performer Natalie Schleich during a performance of “One Night at Gatsby’s.”
Photo by Technical Director Jason Underferth
Schmidt appreciates the variety of the performing cast. “The show is special because it includes dancers ranging from beginning to advanced levels of dance experience,” she said. “It is a wonderful way for our Saint Mary’s community to not only get a chance to perform the art form they love, but also to be leaders and mentors to younger dancers.”
Keating encourages those who missed this weekend’s performances to try a show in the future. “If you didn’t see the shows, you missed out on some great art,” he said. “Dance has the power to really touch people and have a real impact. And that’s art.”