Arts & Culture / Dance / Mosaic / April 25, 2012

Terpsichore takes on record cast

With 137 members, Terpsichore Dance Collective’s spring performance promises to be huge. But is this legal? In a space that normally supports a limit of 52 people, the choreographers have to orchestrate a different kind of dance off stage.

“I actually don’t know what happened between my freshman year and now. We just got an email that said, ‘This year’s cast is 137 people.’ Really? That’s the size of the Creative Writing Department,” senior Monica Prince said.

Prince recalls that there were only 40 to 50 people per show her freshman year. Last spring was the first time some people weren’t cast because there were “literally going to be too many people in the show.”

The Terpsichore executive board changed the audition process so potential dancers write in which dances they want to be cast. If they are not cast in any of those dances, they are not cast in the show. To prevent scheduling conflicts, each dancer can be in a maximum of three dances. It also makes the process easier for everyone involved and assures that those dancers who are just “good” do not end up in every single dance.

Prince hypothesized why so many people auditioned for this term’s show.

“The students who are involved in Terp[sichore] — the choreographers and so on and so forth — they start making friends with people who wouldn’t normally be a part of dance,” she said.

One such student is senior Laura Mills.

“I’ve never been in Terp[sichore] before … I’m kind of just doing it for fun,” Mills said.

Mills got together with a group of her friends, also seniors, and decided to try auditioning for Terpsichore.

She believes one of the reasons Terpsichore is more crowded this term is because winter term, “a lot of the dancers were unskilled people, or people who had no prior dance experience, and a lot of those dances were really impressive.”

Although they have to be careful not to run into each other, Mills is glad the group is big, because she believes she would not have been able to participate if cuts were made.

Having so many people has meant the choreographers coordinate backstage.

“We kind of have to shuttle students around during the dances,” Prince said.

While there is a group dancing on stage, the next dance is ready behind the curtains, with another “on deck” dance in the Green Room. The rest of the company waits in the Jay Rehearsal Hall.

Precautions are taken by dancers as well.

“No one smokes in the space. No one crowds the doors. We are all painfully aware that we could all get hurt if something bad happened, so they do take precautions to make sure we’re able to leave the space if we have to,” Prince said.

Although the number of dancers has nearly tripled, the atmosphere remains one of “physical acquaintanceship,” Prince said.

“Terp is like an absurdly large social atmosphere,” Prince said. “You’re dancing with people … and you get to know them physically rather than intellectually.”

Terpsichore executive members were unavailable for comment.

Elizabeth Schult

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