The curtain may have fallen on their time with the Tower Dancers, but their potential has just begun to be unveiled.
Three senior Tower Dancers share their perspective on their final dance performances, and the program’s progress in their time dancing.
Senior theater major Dani Morey praised Tower Dancers director Holly Hobbs for her creativity the past two years with music.
“Last year Holly’s modern dance piece was to letters being read — there was no music. It was so beautifully executed, and worked well with the lighting and projections. It was very stunning.”
Morey said she appreciated experiencing Assistant Lecturer in Dance Jillian Hopper’s creative process in planning “Auspex,” Morey’s favorite dance.
“She’s new here, and didn’t know the dancers or what she was working with,” Morey said. “Watching her craft the dance to fit us, and taking her time to fit the right music and combination of people and movements she wanted to use was inspiring.”
Morey compared her experience in theatre to performing as a Tower Dancer.
“In theater, you are feeding off of other people, seeing how they respond to you, and giving back and forth,” Morey said. “In dance, it’s much more personal. You are experiencing the dance, and opening yourself up and being vulnerable for the audience, but it’s not so much give and take — it’s all you. It’s great being able to leave it all out there.
Morey said their extra technical week and the student choreographers and costume design brought the best performances she had seen.
“This was the strongest performance I’ve seen here,” Morey said. “The diversity of having four student choreographers and student’s designing the costumes made it so much more visually stimulating, and the subject matter was so varied. Each of the dances were so different, and had the flair of its choreographer.”
Senior Leah Hickman said she enjoyed the extra props used in Hobbs’s dance.
“They projected hubble telescope and space images on the back screen, and the dancers held flashlights to mimic stars,” Hickman said. “It was cool working with the flow of the pulsars because there wasn’t an actual beat, so you had to be aware of the other’s movements, and use breath cues to signal the other dancers.”
Hickman said her favorite dance with the Tower Dancers was “Out of Ash” by Matt Farmer, a visiting choreographer from Hope College.
“It was very athletic, it involved good classical music, and used the best music in American history, which was ‘Appalachian Spring’ by Aaron Copland,” Hickman said. “Even though it was modern music, there were still parts with the whole group dancing together, which looks powerful on stage.”
Assistant Professor of Physics Timothy Dolch and Hobbs discussed the math and dance collaboration for 30 minutes before Friday’s performance.
Senior Lauren Melcher said as a science major, she appreciated the unique collaboration of physics, dance, and University of Wisconsin faculty member Dawn Erb, who wrote the pulsar music.
“It was neat we got to collaborate with another department and college,” Melcher said. “You don’t typically see science and dance together. It’s a very unique perspective. I think if you have an open mind, it can be really unique, interesting, and beautiful.”
Melcher said the dancers rank Saturday’s performance as the best of the weekend because they had fixed mistakes and weren’t as fatigued as on Sunday.
Melcher said that dance has played, and will continue to play, a big role in her life.
“I’ve danced since 8 or 9 years old. I’ve always been a pretty creative, artsy person even if I’m a science major,” Melcher said. “I use it as a form of expression and exercise. It’s also taught me discipline. You definitely have to work hard to achieve certain goals, and I’m not a typical dancer.”
Melcher said the dance department’s enhanced, individual focus creates a strong dance program.
“Our faculty is incredible. They care about developing every dancer and their abilities and talents as individuals, not just as the whole class,” Melcher said. “The faculty will focus on each person, and give them tips and goals to work toward.”