Alumni Celebrate a Decade of Dance
By Karen Dearborn
On the weekend of November 21, 2003 more than 50 dance alumni came to Muhlenberg to take class, watch dances, make dances and perform dances; in other words, to do what dancers do, as a way of celebrating a decade of dance at Muhlenberg College. Built upon the dance club legacy (founded by Connie Kunda in 1969), the academic dance program began modestly in the fall of 1993. Over the years, graduating seniors have asked for an alumni dance concert and this seemed the perfect opportunity.
As alumni poured into my Friday afternoon ballet class I knew a wonderful weekend was ahead of me. A successful physical therapist and a new mother stood at one end of the barre and a young freshman at the other, and we all participated in the 200-year-old ritual practice known as ballet class. Between the introductory plies and concluding grande allegro leaps, I was observing 14 overlapping years of Muhlenberg dance in motion. It was spectacular.
After class, alumni from the early years - when the Brown basement was our home - marveled over the new facilities and mused about how their dance education would have differed if the Trexler Pavilion had been here when they were students. Soon more alumni dancers arrived to form a core group bent on creating, with nationally noted choreographer Claire Porter, a dance work worthy of performance in just two days.
piece they created to inaugurate the Muhlenberg Alumni Dance Concert,
traced what these 24 dancers had been doing “since” graduation.
Poignant, funny and informative, this piece knit together the shared
history of Muhlenberg alumni. The concert also featured dance works
by choreographers Julie Danton ’03, Adam Kaufman ’96, Jan
Knerr ’02, Jen Schoonover ’93, Michelle Yuras ’02
and the two adjunct faculty here at the founding of the program, Susan
Creitz and Shelley Oliver. Susan directed alumni in an improv performance
while Shelley presented the Muhlenberg Tap Ensemble and led
Alumni not available to perform joined us Saturday evening for a joyous dinner in the Hoffman House followed by attendance at the Student Dance Concert in the Baker Theatre. The weekend culminated on Sunday with the production of our first Alumni Dance Concert followed by a reception for all. To say it was an incredible weekend would be an understatement.