Arts & Culture / Mosaic / February 28, 2018

Terp mesmerizes with contemporary dance


Senior Elise Goitia and freshman Hannah Johnson move in sync to their piece choreographed by senior Meghan Gaynor. (Dan Perez/TKS)


Coming back from a term abroad, senior and President of Terpsichore Dance Collective Claire Cody was worried about coming back to unfamiliar faces. Instead, she was met with enthusiasm from several new faces. Cody is choreographing a dance to “Believer” by Imagine Dragons, which will open the show titled “Mesmerize.”

“It’s always kind of interesting to come up with a name for the show because it never really encapsulates everything, but kind of this idea of how movement can be a way of self-love,” Cody said.

For Cody, this dance bears resemblance to the first dance she choreographed with Terp during Winter Term of her freshman year.

“I think the dance that I’ve worked on this term kind of harkens back to that in some ways,” she said. “So for me it’s coming full circle.”

Freshman and Assistant Co-Production Manager Sadie Cheney went into this term knowing she wanted to continue to increase her involvement with Terp.

“The more that I’m in Terp, the more I love it,” she said. “You focus more on feeling the song in the movement and being around the people than technical aspects of it. It’s more of a fun thing and about loving each other.”



Senior Claire Cody choreographed a dance to the song “Believer” by Imagine Dragons. (Dan Perez/TKS)


Since first starting, Cheney has immersed herself in the culture of Terp. In addition to performing a piece, she is choreographing her own, and is serving as part of the club’s exec team. Cheney is choreographing a contemporary piece to Sylvan Esso’s “Slack Jaw.”

“Trying new things has been a big part of my choreography this year. I wanted to focus on little movements instead of making it all so big and extravagant,” Cheney said. “I focus on like an opening of your hands. And the tiniest things make the biggest impact.”

Due to the lack of mirrors, the choreographers of Terp have had to put extra effort into teaching their dancers how to emulate their desired story. Senior and Vice President of Terp Elise Goitia is looking forward to hopefully having mirrors by the start of Spring Term. The addition of mirrors, she said, will be beneficial for more than just Terp. She brought up this point when she went to Student Senate to request funds for mirrors.

“I was like ‘yes, I’m here to represent Terp but, really, I’m here to represent the student body,’” she said.

Terp members have been using the reflection of the windows at night as makeshift mirrors during their practices.

Goitia does not feel that it is adequate. Mirrors allow the choreographers to be seen from the front—in the reflection of the mirrors—and the back, thus allowing the dancers to get the full scope of movement when learning the routines.

“A big strain has been on the choreographers because they have this vision, but the only thing that can help them — the only way they can translate that — is by showing them themself, and by repeating and critiquing while they watch,” she said.

Cheney has also experienced difficulties with choreographing a piece without mirrors. They are not only important on an individual level, they are also important for establishing a sense of cohesion and unity among the group of dancers.

“Mirrors are so important for dance, she said. “You want to see how you move and how you move together and that’s impossible without mirrors.”



Senior Claire Cody and freshmen Madeline Swift and Anne Flintgruber  rehearse for their upcoming show ‘Mesmerize’ on Friday, March 2 at 7 p.m. (Dan Perez/TKS)



Goitia and Cody are looking forward to being able to create more sharp and complex dances with the newly obtained mirrors. Cody, upon noticing a lack of men involved this term, is also hoping to create a more open environmentnext term. She is worried that the lack of male presence in this term’s show will discourage them from joining in the future.

“Now what I worry is that, if first-years come in and see the show this term and don’t see any guys, they might think that guys can’t do it, which is so false,” she said.

Sam Jacobson, Co-News Editor
Sam Jacobson is a junior majoring in philosophy and potentially minoring in creative writing or psychology. She started volunteer writing during spring term of her freshman year, and worked as a staff writer during her sophomore year.

Tags:  contemporary dance dance mesmerize mirrors terp

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