The lights dimmed as dancers padded softly across the floor into their places before the stage lit up in a burst of color. A violin solo started, and the dance began. For the first time, Principia College’s annual Dance Production opened in the new McVay Center for Performing Arts at Morey.
Last year, dancers and choreographers created a site-specific production on the Chapel Green and around campus, which held its own triumphs and challenges. Leading up to this year’s production, there was excitement and gratitude for the opportunity to use the new performance space.
The dancers and choreographers explored ideas of joy, reflection, freedom from the stress of expectations, and the eternality of life in the new performance space. In her piece, “The Breakthrough,” mathematics major Emily Booth explored breaking away from societal expectations through dance. She wrote, “We all must free ourselves from the stress of those expectations. We need to figure out what we, as individuals, want and let that lead us forward in life.”
A broad range of styles was on display throughout the night—from ballet to tap, jazz, modern, and contemporary. Choreographers included four students, two faculty, and two alumni, all with varying backgrounds and academic majors ranging from physics to business administration. All came together for a night of lively expression and communication through art and creative movement in the new performance space.
“Thinking about lighting and staging in the more traditional sense once again has ignited a sense of nostalgia and excitement as we come home to the theatre,” writes Erin Lane, Artistic Director. For choreographers, the return to a stage also means reengaging with different components of dance. “Choreographers have worked diligently to regain a few long-lost skills—such as directing dancers how to execute lifts and connect with one another onstage,” writes Lane.
Traditionally, the last number included the full cast in a celebration of movement, connection, and rhythm in what is now the new home of the annual Dance Production.