While most students are adjusting to new schedules after returning from winter break, USC's Dance Company jumped right into the creative process of putting together its annual Spring Dance Concert that opens this February.
The Spring Dance Concert will consist of three original works performed by dance students and choreographed by Jennifer Deckert, André Megerdichian and Olivia Waldrop. The pieces will be performed at the Drayton Hall Theatre from Feb. 9 through Feb. 12.
Stylistic pieces titled "Connection is Made" by Megerdichian, "respond" by Waldrop and "Frontiers" by Deckert will be performed. The three choreographers work as professors and instructors at the university.
All those involved in the production, including costume coordinators, production designers and tech students, immediately began organizing to put together the high-energy concert at the start of the semester.
The planning process was much shorter than other concerts, according to Jennifer Deckert, a dance program coordinator at USC.
“At the end of this really intense period, we come out and have this brilliant show, and it’s such a lovely way to sort of build the connections between our dancers (and) the faculty,” Deckert said.
Each dance has about fifteen performers who are all dance students in the Department of Theatre and Dance. Claire Cronin, a second-year dance and biomedical engineering student, said performing in the dance company keeps her motivated.
“When you’re able to go on stage, everything kind of goes away and you’re just living in the movement and the dance,” Cronin said about how she balances dance and schoolwork. “It’s just really freeing for me.”
Cronin will be performing in Deckert’s ballet piece, "Frontiers," and encourages everyone, dancer or not, to see the show and experience the energy of each of the dances.
Dancers will perform Deckert’s piece "en pointe," a ballet style where dancers perform on the very tips of their toes using special pointe shoes. The piece is upbeat, second-year dance student Lindsay Schultz said.
Conversations about costume designs and managing lighting logistics began during the fall semester.
"We send them images, we send them ideas and then they come back with their own ideas and images," Deckert said about the costume and production designers.
The production team focuses on the visual effects of the concert, according to Schultz. She said lighting plays a huge role in the dances by setting the mood, highlighting different moments and enhancing the visual aspect of the performances.
This is one of the first concerts since the COVID-19 pandemic began that the dancers can perform without social distancing on stage.
“With COVID last year, there was a lot of stuff that we had to do that was super spread out. They tried to make sure nobody was touching each other and nobody was too close. Everybody’s six feet apart,” Schultz said.
Though there will be an online recording, Schultz encourages people to attend the concert in person — saying it is a short and safe opportunity to escape from stress for a moment.
“There’s just a different atmosphere that you get from being there than you get from being online,” Schultz said.
Deckert said the USC Dance Company has poured its energy into this concert over the past month and has continued to work hard to tell a story, even through setbacks from COVID-19.
“It’s about collaboration, and it’s about supporting each other through conflict and through situations that might be difficult or exciting,” Deckert said. “Ultimately, we come out with a piece of art.”