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"Dance Emerge" Concert Showcases Eclectic Work by Student, Alumni and Faculty Artists


Dance performance April 18-21 displays talent of five student choreographers and four guest artists, showcasing the talent of more than 50 dancers.

By: Scott Snyder   Monday, April 9, 2018 10:02 AM

Muhlenberg College dancers tell their stories through movement, as the Muhlenberg theatre & dance department presents “Dance Emerge,” a showcase for dance works created by emerging choreographers, as well as Muhlenberg faculty and alumni, April 18-21.

Muhlenberg faculty members Shelley Oliver and Jeffrey Peterson will be presenting works for the concert. Alumni Noah S. Dach ’16, current instructor at Muhlenberg for Aerial Acrobatics, and Courtney Hunsberger ’15, have also choreographed original pieces for the concert.

“Dance Emerge” will be performed in the college’s intimate studio theatre, a black box performance space with seating on three sides of the performance.

The concert will showcase nine choreographers and more than 50 dancers from the department’s dance program, which is among the most highly regarded programs of its kind. “Dance Emerge” features costume and lighting designs by the department’s acclaimed professional staff. Jeffrey Peterson is the artistic director for the concert.

“It's been a joy to program this show and help to guide these fine artists toward what is sure to be a vibrant, eclectic show!” Peterson says. “What I am most excited about as artistic director of this year's ‘Dance Emerge’ is the range of style across these choreographers.”

The nine dances include a blend of jazz, modern, tap, ballet, and hip-hop inspired works. Dach is even using harnesses and bungee cords to create a piece that juxtaposes aerial choreography with movement on the ground.

The choreographers draw inspiration from a broad variety of sources including the states of water, feelings evoked by the sky, and the movie "The Matrix." Their pieces investigate such themes as joy and simplicity, physical expressions of emotional discomfort, and dynamics of power, among others.

Student choreographer Carolyn Bonaccorsi ’18 works with her dancers to explore the power dynamics of the current political environment—but with a slight twist.

“I wanted to reflect today’s social and cultural climate but bring it to the stage in a more absurd form—that lets us laugh,” Bonaccorsi explains.

Shelley Oliver has been working on an independent study with three senior tappers at Muhlenberg, the product of which will be performed for “Dance Emerge.”

“My work, titled 'City Rapids,' is a virtuosic tap trio, that explores the emergence of a jazztap style of dance from Irish roots,” Oliver says.

“Dance Emerge” runs April 18-21 in the Studio Theatre, Trexler Pavilion for Theatre & Dance, Muhlenberg College, 2400 Chew St., Allentown.

Performances are Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at 8:00 p.m.; Saturday, April 21, at 2:00 and 8:00 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults, $8 for patrons 17 and under and $8 for students, faculty and staff of all LVAIC colleges. For groups of 15 or more, tickets are $13.

Tickets and information are available at 484-664-3333 or muhlenberg.edu/dance. To arrange an interview or photo opportunity with Karen Dearborn, Jeffrey Peterson, or any of the student choreographers, please contact Scott Snyder, at 484-664-3693 or scottsnyder@muhlenberg.edu.

Muhlenberg College’s Theatre & Dance Department offers one of the top-rated college performance programs in the county, according to the Princeton Review rankings. Muhlenberg is a liberal arts college of more than 2,200 students in Allentown, Pa., offering Bachelor of Arts degrees in theater and dance. It has been named annually among The Fiske Guide to Colleges’ top 20 small college programs in the United States, and the American College Dance Festival Association has consistently recognized dances premiered on the Muhlenberg stage for excellence in choreography and performance.

Founded in 1848, Muhlenberg is a highly selective, private, four-year residential, liberal arts college located in Allentown, Pa., approximately 90 miles west of New York City. With an undergraduate enrollment of approximately 2200 students, Muhlenberg College is dedicated to shaping creative, compassionate, collaborative leaders through rigorous academic programs in the arts, humanities, natural sciences and social sciences as well as selected pre-professional programs, including accounting, business, education and public health. A member of the Centennial Conference, Muhlenberg competes in 22 varsity sports. Muhlenberg is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.