Music and movement make Rider Dances a must-see

By Tara DeLorenzo

Combining body movement with musical instruments, a group of Rider dance majors and minors come together to perform, led by esteemed choreographer Laney Engelhard.

Rider’s dance majors and minors will be twirling through the Bart Luedeke Center (BLC) on March 9 at 7:30 p.m. and March 10 at 2 p.m. to present Rider Dances with Laney Engelhard.

Integrating film, music and movement, these performances will showcase the power of the body and the senses through Engelhard’s innovative choreography, as well as works by other choreographers, such as Assistant Director of Admissions Cherilyn Barbone, Angela Cusumano and Dance Program Director Kim Chandler Vaccaro.

The program will contain a mix of dance genres, ranging from tap to hip-hop to contemporary and will exemplify the creativity and skill the dancers possess from rehearsal to performance.

“The underlying theme of this year’s performance is the mind and body dualism that continues to pervade our culture,” said Vaccaro, who also choreographed some of the pieces for the show. “This concert considers Bloom’s Taxonomy, which puts creativity at the top of critical thinking skills, how the brain works and what various parts of the brain do, and the communicative and therapeutic powers of dance and what all that means to the nature of intelligence.”

The show is meant to help redefine dance as more than just choreography by depicting it as metaphor, imagery, rhythm and “semiotics and culturally encoded symbolism,” Vaccaro said.

Engelhard’s choreography makes for a much-anticipated event, according to sophomore dance major Jacquelyn Oathout. She said it will give audiences “a lot to think about because each piece is so different and the movement says a lot.”

Senior arts administration major Caroline Asuncion agreed via email, saying, “The audience will definitely feel a mixture of emotions. Some dances are fun and crazy while others have some powerful themes. I think they are really going to love each individual piece they see from start to finish.”

For the past seven years, Engelhard has created work with an “industrious nature and creative vision” with Rider dancers, Vaccaro said.

Elizabeth Tkaczynski focuses and elongates her frame while performing with Rider Dances.

Engelhard has also danced with the Oregon Ballet Theatre and worked as a guest artist with countless companies and productions, such as Radio City’s Christmas Spectacular and Terpsicorps Theatre of Dance in Asheville, N.C. As a choreographer, she has designed many performances for schools in the New Jersey area, including ensembles such as the American Repertory Ballet and Princeton’s Body Hype ensemble.

According to Asuncion, Rider’s dancers are eager to dance in the upcoming show and share their hard work with the audience.

“My experience in the studio has been a memorable one,” Asuncion said. “We all really connect to each other now as dancers and friends, and I wouldn’t want to dance with anyone else. For the past two years I’ve been on tech crew behind the scenes. Now it’s my senior year, and I want to go out with a bang by performing with my friends.”

Junior dance major Alison Giampolo shared the same enthusiasm.

“I am really excited about the upcoming Rider Dances performances,” she said via email. “The dancers and choreographers have put in a lot of time and energy throughout the semester and I’m glad we will finally be able to showcase what we’ve worked so hard on.”

Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for students and families participating in Admitted Students Day.

Reserve tickets by calling 609-896-7775 or by visiting rider.edu/arts. Tickets will also be available at the door. In an effort to “go green,” the advanced tickets may not be printed, and the program for the performances will be found only in electronic format on the Rider website.

Printed in the 3-8-13 edition

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