Campus / Dance / News / April 10, 2008

Fire hazard makes dancers search for new home

The location of Terpsichore’s next dance show is up in the air, since the Auxiliary Gym was declared hazardous for occupancy by more than 50 people at a time as a result of their last show.

As luck would have it, a Galesburg firefighter happened to attend Terpsichore’s winter term show March 1.

“He noticed a minimum of 300 people [at the show] and, knowing the right safety codes, did some calculations and decided there should only be 50,” said Facilities Services Director Scott Maust. The bleachers at the show were filled to capacity, and many audience members sat on windowsills on the far wall of the room.

Knox currently has no plans to add additional exits to the building. If the school adapted the building to accommodate more people, it would also have to update its structural engineering and make it fully compliant with the American Disabilities Act. Such a project could cost up to $700,000, Maust said.

Now that the Auxiliary Gym is off-limits for performances, Terpsichore is having a hard time finding a place in the rest of Knox’s already-booked theater and dance locations. Currently, their best bet is Harbach Theater.

“It’s kind of hard, and we’re thinking about the future,” said Strache. “I don’t think we’ll get Harbach every term.”

Terpsichore has seen remarkable growth in the past few years. Strache said that only around 20 dancers participated in the dance show her freshman year; this term, 71 dancers auditioned. More than 200 people came to each of last term’s performances.

“It’s pretty sweet. I know people who go twice,” said Terpsichore dancer junior Laura Weiss.

Strache and Weiss attribute Terpsichore’s recent popularity to keeping an open attitude and giving choreographers and dancers of all skill levels a chance to perform.

”The auditions are usually really fun and easy so people can feel less intimidated,” said Weiss. Though Terpsichore tries not to turn anyone away, regardless of skill level, this term’s record 71 dance auditioners forced them to cast some dancers as alternates.

Strache said that the show will probably end up in Harbach on Wed., May 14, a date that many out-of-town parents may not be able to make.

“It just sucks that we’ve completely outgrown the space in two years,” said Strache.

Deana Rutherford

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