Spring Dance Concert Highlights the Work of Seniors

The Masters Dance Company leapt their way into our hearts with “Just Dance, Part 2,” the spring dance concert, on May 12 and 13 at the Claudia Boettcher Theatre.

The performing artists showcased the depth and breadth of their dance technique during eight student-choreographed pieces. The event ended with seven seniors taking their last bow as MDC dancers.

For senior Ellie Yang ’23, who has danced with the company since freshman year, the special moment was not lost on her: “Since it was my last concert at Masters, I felt that I was able to not only leave my vision on the stage but also cherish my last performance with the other dancers.”

Yang found inspiration for her poignant number, “Without You,” after a rehearsal last year. “I saw a chair on the dimly lit stage and found the image so solitary yet beautiful. I could almost picture someone just sitting in it, thinking,” she shared. “I felt the emptiness of the chair was reminiscent of loss, so I decided to choreograph a piece about missing those in life who may not be there anymore.”

Fellow senior Nico Riley ’23 thoroughly enjoyed the choreographic process for creating his dance, “Unum,” Latin for “oneness.” 

“I got to brainstorm multiple, fun ways of conveying my message, experiment with movements, and ‘go with the flow’ of things,” he said. “I’ve always been intrigued by the concept of soulmates and in particular the idea that two people could work so well together that it appears as if they’re functioning as one being. I decided to expand that idea to incorporate multiple people and explore what that would look like.”

MDC Director Shell Benjamin was proud of her dancers: “Throughout the rehearsal period, students dug deep and had many ‘aha’ moments of self and artistic discovery. Seeing them take ownership and working together on this production was impressive.”

From flash mob previews on campus to dance tutorials and dance battles during the performances, MDC members wanted the audience to feel that they were part of the dancing community. In keeping with their tradition of fundraising for a nonprofit, Benjamin shared that “The company raised more than $600 from both performances to support Dancing Dreams, an organization that provides dance classes for students with mobility impairments.”

Including Yang and Riley, the seven senior MDC members are: Kuorkor Ashie, Haile Coore, Angelica Lopez-Tucker, Henry Timmer, and Emily Van Demark. 

“I don’t really think of this as goodbye because the journey is just beginning for them,” said Benjamin. “Each one has promised to return and perform in the Alumni Dance, stay in touch, visit and support MDC.”

Reflecting on his experience with the company, Riley said it has been one “of deep community bonds, discipline, love, mutual respect and reverence to the art of dance and performance.”