The 21 members of the Masters Dance Company (MDC) were grateful to take the stage in November with the premiere of their first in-person performance in nearly two years. So grateful, in fact, that they chose “gratitude” as the theme for their concert.
MDC Director Shell Benjamin explained that “Each piece pauses to recognize, acknowledge, and appreciate the things that we often take for granted: having a place to live, food, classrooms, dance studio, clean water, community, teachers, friends, family and even computer access.”
Showcasing styles from lyrical and ballet to modern and disco, the troupe will perform original works from seniors Charlotte Beck, Mali Black, Annie Fabian, Maria Portillo and Jadah Ramdyal along with pieces by guest choreographers and dancing pros Juan Michael Porter and Peter Pucci.
“I love the range of choreography I am able to dance, and am grateful for their trust in us to carry out their vision,” Ellie Yang ’23 said.
Company newcomers like Adji Arame Ngom ’25 have flourished in the welcoming and supportive environment. “My favorite piece is ‘Human’ (choreographed by Mali Black) because, in this dance, you really get to be your true self and go outside your comfort zone.”
For Yang, being back on stage is both exciting and meaningful. “Some of the dances in the show were originally choreographed my freshman year, and it has been an amazing experience to finally perform in the CBT (Claudia Boettcher Theatre).”
Benjamin is proud that the dancers have persevered to create “a labor of love.” Ngom chalks it up to the “strong connection between the whole company,” and said, “We work hard as a group so that we can have a beautiful show.”
During breaks in the performance, community members will be invited to leave notes of gratitude on a large banner to be displayed on campus.
The fall dance concert is open to the Masters community. Performances will take place Friday, November 12, at 7:00 p.m. and Saturday, November 13, at 8:00 p.m. in the CBT.