Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Great Performance!

Thank you to everyone who came out to see our performance 'Tis the Season this past weekend! It was a big success and the audience loved it. Unfortunately one of our dancers was injured at the last minute so there was some shuffling around to replace him but he still made an appearance in the Toy Shop with his "candy" cane. Amidst all the Nutcrackers this season, 'Tis the Season changed it up a little and spread the holiday cheer with skaters, liturgical dancers and dancing elves. Now if we could just get a little more snow!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

'Tis the Season

It's finally here! After months of preparation our holiday performance is upon us. We've been in the theatre this week spacing and rehearsing on the stage. Our tech crew led by Mr. Gleason has been busy building sets for Santa's toy shop and they look fantastic. Everyone is pitching in to finish the costumes and make sure that every last detail is perfect in order to have a great performance. It will be a fairly short show lasting about an hour. Christine Hay's ballet piece "Skaters" will open the performance, followed by "Multitude of Angels", a liturgical piece choreographed Noelle Partusch, and finally "Toy Shop" a fun piece choreographed by Mark Santillano.

Performance are Friday Dec, 9th at 4:30pm, Saturday Dec. 10th at 2pm and 7pm and Sunday Dec. 11th at 2pm.

Tickets: Adult: $15.50
Senior/Student: $12.50
PC: $7.50
Youth 15 and under: $5.00
MC Student: $3.50
Special Preview Performance Friday December 9th, at 4:30 pm $5.00!

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

It's begining to look a lot like Christmas

Hello Everyone!

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! Now that we've all had our fill of turkey and stuffing it's ready to get back to work. Winter term has officially started and it's starting to feel a lot like Christmas around the Dance space. We've got our tree up and Christmas lights strung all around the space. It looks great!

The Dance Department had the privilege in participating in the 2011 Erie Festival of Trees this year, an event that is organized by Saint Vincent Health System. The Dance Department donated a Christmas tree decorated in the 'Tis the Season theme. We also presented performances by the Mercyhurst College Liturgical Ensemble with faculty member Noelle Partusch and student Allegra Glinsky. The festival raised over $100,000 and the dance department is proud to have been a part of this wonderful event.

Our Holiday Performance 'Tis the Season is fast approaching and if you are around campus you will start to see posters advertising it. Be sure to leave your calendars open for the weekend of December 10th!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Beyond Words

This weekend the Mercyhurst College Dance Department is presenting Mercyhurst Ballet Theatre and SoMar Dance Works in the fall performance, Beyond Words.

Both companies have been rehearsing for the past few months and have some exciting new works to perform! Mercyhurst Ballet Theatre is performing three pieces choreographed by Tauna Hunter, Thom Clower and alumni Sarah Grace. SoMar will capture the audiences with pieces including ones about monsters under the bed and a tribute to 9/11. Each company has a group of talented dancers and it is not a show to miss!

Performances are on Saturday at 2pm and 7pm and Sunday at 2pm. Tickets are $15.15 for Adults, $12.50 for senior/students, $7.50 for presidents club, $5 for youth and $3.50 for MC students.

Hope to see you there!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Paul Taylor Dance Visits Mercyhurst

Last Friday Mercyhurst had the great opportunity to see Paul Taylor Dance Company perform at the D'angelo Performing Arts Center. We have been very lucky to see many world renowned companies perform here at Mercyhurst and Paul Taylor is one of them.

Paul Taylor Dance Company is a medium sized modern company based in New York City. Their repertory is centered on works choreographed by Paul Taylor. The company has performed in over 540 cities and 64 countries, representing themselves as one of the top modern companies in the world.

In their performance here on Friday they performed three works. The first piece was a fun one set to popular music from the ragtime era. It was broken up into different "episodes" with different relationships between the dancers on stage. There was plenty of comedy in the piece and lots of energy. The next piece performed was a much calmer and almost ethereal work. It reminded me a bit of liturgical dance with the movement style and music. The piece they closed the performance with, was by far my favorite. The dancers were dressed in fantastic green costumes and the music was Brandenburg concertos #6 and #3. The movement showed off the dancers’ technicality and quick speed along with energy and big movement.

In the dance department we had the amazing opportunity to take a master class from one of the company members. She taught a great class focusing on the Taylor style and at the end of class she taught a movement phrase from the piece "Brandenburgs". It made the performance that much more engaging when we could see the part of choreography we learned, danced by the company onstage!

Taking class and seeing Paul Taylor Dance Company perform was a great way to end last week. Looking forward to a short week this week before fall break!

"I want to lift the audience to the miraculous in human nature. After all, we shouldn't be here, with all the odds against us in nature. It's kind of unusual and wonderful!" -Paul Taylor

Friday, September 30, 2011

Want to dance?

Did you used to dance but you're not a dance major? Never danced before but think it would be cool to try? Need a fun way to get some exercise? Then open class is for you!

Tuesdays and Thursdays in the dancespace you can find several kinds of dance classes to take part in. On both days an Intermediate Ballet Technique class is taught by senior dance major Tori Scott. It's a great class to come and take if you used to do ballet or if you are a dance major and want to take some extra classes. There is no dress code so it's a great way to take a good class and have fun. On Tuesdays Belly Dancing is taught by Anna Daught who is also a senior dance major. This class is something different and really fun. If you don't know much about Belly Dancing or are curious to try it, then come see what it is all about! On Thursdays junior dance major Jessica Stachelrodt teaches Hip Hop. This class is a good work out sure to make you sweat. It's good for someone trying hip hop for the first time or someone who has taken it for years. If you didn't know how to move before you will certainly be able to after one of Jessica's classes! There is also an intermediate/advanced Ballet Class taught on Saturday mornings.

So if it's Ballet you are interested in or you want to try Belly Dancing or Hip Hop, please don't hesitate to come by and check out these great classes! Mercyhurst community can attend Hip Hop and Belly Dancing for free, the Ballet class is $5 per class or you can purchase a class card. General Public must purchase a class card to take any of the open classes.

For more information check out the Mercyhurst Dance Department Website! dance.mercyhurst.edu

Schedule of Classes:

Intermediate Ballet - Tues. and Thurs. 6-7:30 p.m.

Belly Dancing - Tues. 6-7:30 p.m.

Hip Hop - Thurs. 6-7:30 p.m.

Intermediate/Advanced Ballet - Sat. 10:30 a.m. - noon

All classes in Zurn Hall danceSpace studios

Monday, September 26, 2011

Parents Weekend

Wow time is flying! It is already the fifth week of the term, which means mid-terms are upon us. Dance rehearsals are in full swing as we prepare for our Holiday Concert.

This coming weekend is Homecoming and Parents Weekend. There will be lots of festivities on campus including the Music and Dance Performance on Saturday morning. The Mercyhurst Dancers are performing exceprts from Pulcinella, which won second place in the ensemble category at the Youth America Grand Prix competition last year. Mercyhurst Ballet Theatre will be performing excerpts of pieces choreographed by Tauna Hunter and Alum Sarah Grace. There will also be performances by SoMar Dance Works, Mercyhurst Liturgical Dance Ensemble and Guest Alumnus. Homecoming weekend is always a fun time to see parents and visiting alumni and to take part in all of the great things going on around campus!

"Dance is the only art in which we ourselves are the stuff of which it is made." -Ted Shawn

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Back into the swing of things

Welcome back everyone!

It is the beginning of another year here in the dancespace and things are already rolling. Everyone who came back early for Jump Start had a great time taking class with our guest teacher Thom Clower. Incoming freshmen also got the chance to enjoy great food and company with the upper classmen at the different dinner events. Members of Mercyhurst Ballet Theatre were also busy rehearsing pieces by Mr. Clower and returning graduate Sarah Mastrocola.

Official classes started last week and we held the department auditions for our Holiday show! We will be performing "Les Patineurs" Choreographed by Chrsitine Hay, a liturgical peice by Noelle Partusch and a fun always entertaining piece by Mark Santillano. The first rehearsals started yesterday and it looks like it's going to be a great performance!

Keep on Dancing :)

Thursday, April 28, 2011


Hello Everyone!

Well the time has finally come! After all of our hard work, the performances of Cinderella are upon us! Everyone is looking forward to the performances this weekend. This week has been very busy as we put in our final hours of rehearsal in the theater. Last night was the dress rehearsal for the Friday and Saturday evening cast, which include our seniors Nicole Lyons as Cinderella, Jessica Borowczyk as the Fairy Godmother, and Claire Hinde and Sarah Grace as the Step-sisters. There were still a few glitches to work out but I think after our second dress rehearsal tonight for the Saturday and Sunday matinee cast everything will look great! The matinee cast includes Sophomore Olivia Boyd as Cinderella, Junior Kristina Weimer as the Fairy Godmother, and Juniors Haley Bradstreet and Victoria Scott as the Step-sisters.

Our performances will be Friday, May 29th at 4pm, Saturday, May 30th at 2pm and 7pm and Sunday, May 31 at 2pm. Hope to see you there!

"Then come the lights shining on you from above. You are a performer. You forget all you learned, the process of technique, the fear, the pain, you even forget who you are. You become one with the music, the lights, indeed one with the dance."

-Shirley Maclaine

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Midterm time!

Hello Everyone!

Its been a busy couple of weeks here in the dance department but it seems as if things are finally coming together. Cinderella rehearsals are running full time now and we are beginning to rehearse entire acts. Everything looks so good we can't wait for you to see the production!

Midterms were also this past week so everyone can finally relax a bit and focus simply on getting back into the swing of classes and normal everyday life. Everyone seemed to do wonderfully and I'm sure all the midterm grades will be splendid.

We also had a guest teacher come in for a residency a couple weeks ago, Ms. Cameron Basden, Director of Dance at the Interlochen Center for the Arts. Cameron Basden has had a career in dance spanning more than thirty years. She brings passion and spirit to her art, as well as a keen sense of organization and integrity to the projects she undertakes. Ms. Basden served as Ballet Master and Co-Associate Director for The Joffrey Ballet from 1993-2008. She was a muse for Gerald Arpino and now stages his works. She worked on the PBS filming of The Joffrey's production of Billboards, and oversaw the filming and staging of the ballets in Save the Last Dance. She is a noted lecturer and speaker on dance and dance related subjects. As a repetiteur, Ms. Basden has staged both historical and contemporary works. With The Joffrey Ballet, Ms. Basden danced in a variety of styles by such choreographers as Sir Frederick Ashton, George Balanchine, John Cranko, William Forsythe, Paul Taylor, Twyla Tharp, Mark Morris, James Kudelka, Laura Dean and Choo San Goh. Ms. Basden's television credits include the Dance in America series "Homage to Diaghilev" and "The Search for the Rite of Spring". In 2003, she portrayed herself in Robert Altman's movie, The Company. She serves on the board of The Gerald Arpino Foundation where she is also the main repetiteur.

In addition to Ms. Basden's residency we have had two early bird auditions for high school juniors that are interested in the department. This allows them to audition and get a head start in applying to the college as well as the department. The conclusions of these two auditions also concludes our audition season.

The department also participated in a couple events on campus in the past couple weeks. The entire department participated in a research study with the psychology department. In addition, the wellness fair was held this past week which is always an excitement for the department. As such active athletes, everyone in the department likes to go to the fair and learn about different ways to take care of yourself, both physically and mentally, as well as enjoy delicious and healthy food.
Finally, Mercyhurst had the pleasure of hosting Complexions Dance Company. The show was spectacular with amazing choreography by Dwight Rhodes and extreme and limitless dancing by the company. Here is a bit about the company from their website...

"It is artistic directors Dwight Rhoden and Desmond Richardson’s lifelong appreciation for the artistic & aesthetic appeal of the multicultural that forms the cornerstone of Complexions Contemporary Ballet’s singular approach to reinventing dance. Founded in 1994, Complexions’ groundbreaking mix of methods, styles, cultures has created an entirely new and exciting vision of human movement over the past decade-and-a-half.

The company’s foremost innovation is that dance should be about removing boundaries, not reinforcing them. Whether it be the limiting traditions of a single style, period, venue, or culture, Complexions transcends them all, creating an open, continually evolving form of dance that reflects the movement of our world—and all its constituent cultures—as an interrelated whole.

It is Rhoden and Richardson’s unique career paths that have paved the way for them to re-define dance—as their multifaceted resumes will show, neither has ever been comfortable with his art being placed in a box. Instead, from E! to PBS to VH1, from Cirque de Soleil to the Joffrey Ballet to So You Think You Can Dance, the two have allowed the transformative power of their art to flow freely throughout the entertainment world—their creative vision restricted by nothing but the limits of the human body itself.

Together, Dwight Rhoden and Desmond Richardson have created in Complexions an institution that embodies its historical moment, a sanctuary where those passionate about dance can celebrate its past while simultaneously building its future. In the 16 years since its inception, the company has born witness to a world that is becoming more fluid, more changeable, and more culturally interconnected than ever before—in other words, a world that is becoming more and more like Complexions itself."

Overall it has been an exciting and eventful past couple of weeks for the department and we can't wait to share the rest of the year with you!

“In life as in dance: Grace glides on blistered feet” - Alice Abrams

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Spring Term Begins :)

Hello Everyone,

Welcome to a new term here at Mercyhurst! Spring term has started and everyone is already as busy as ever. In addition to academics, rehearsals for our spring sow are a main focus in the department. With so many parts to be learned and so much choreography to set it is great to see everyone so dedicated and charged to making this production happen at a high quality.

In addition to Cinderella, rehearsals for the YAGP are in full swing. The girls going to NYC are full of excitement and drive and the rest of the department gives them much support on the venture!

"Dancing faces you towards Heaven, whichever direction you turn." ~Terri Guilleme

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Raw Edges Success!!!

Hello Everyone!

Our winter show, Raw Edges: For Jenni-Lyn Watson was a clear success! The pieces presented by our choreographers were beautifully done and very well received by the audience. We also had an amazing crowd that was incredibly supportive and receptive to the pieces presented to them. Our celebration of Jenni-Lyn's life made it a very emotional weekend, a beautiful compilation of videos of her life as well as a lovely song sang by Matthew Tolbert gave everyone a change to remember and appreciate what a good friend, student and person Jenni-Lyn was. It will be a performance that will always mean a great deal to everyone involved.

This week is also finals week in the department. Everyone has been working very hard on their combinations they will perform for the faculty in order to do the best that they can. It also mean a lot of anticipation for the upcoming spring break, in 8 days everyone will be done and happily resting at home.

"Dance is a little insanity that does us all a lot of good." -Edward Demby

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Raw Edges Weekend!

Hello Everyone,

Sorry for the lack of postings lately, things have been super busy here in the danceSpace.

To update you on YAGP, the group piece taken was chosen to go to New York City! A huge congratulations to everyone involved and good luck to them in the big apple!

This weekend is also our winter show, Raw Edges: For Jenni-Lyn Watson. It is an annual evening of new cutting-edge works by innovative emerging choreographers from our very own department. There are some amazing pieces that are on the scale of choreographers working with major companies today. In addition, the show is dedicated to our dancing angel Jenni-Lyn and she will be remembered throughout the show. Everyone has worked really hard to make this show amazing and it should not be missed. Performances are Saturday February 5th at 2pm and 7pm as well as Sunday February 6th at 2pm in the Mary D'Angelo Performing Arts Center on the Mercyhurst College campus. Tickets are $15.50 for adults, $12.50 for Seniors/Students, $5.00 for Youth and $2.50 for Mercyhurst College Students.

"Any problem in the world can be solved by dancing." -James Brown

Thursday, January 20, 2011


Hi Everyone,

This week has been all about preparations in the danceSpace this week. First of all, auditions for the department's spring show, the ballet Cinderella, we held yesterday. Rehearsals are scheduled to start next week so casting will go up soon. Everyone is buzzing with anticipation to get started.

The girls that are traveling to Youth America Grand Prix are making their final preparations for the competition. They have had costume fittings and are going to their last rehearsals to make sure their variations and group pieces are perfect. We wish them much luck in Chicago this weekend!

The other two major events happening in the dance department, the Erie Festival of Dance and our Winter show, Raw Edges XIII are still in preparation and we will keep you updated on them the closer they are.

“Dance first. Think later. It's the natural order.” - Samuel Beckett

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Hello All!

The week for the YAGP competition has finally arrived! The girls that are going are all very excited and have perfected their variations and group pieces to do the best that they can. Accompanied by faculty member Michael Gleason and alumni Noelle Lelakus, the group will be traveling to Chicago this coming Friday.

In other news, the Erie Dance Consortium is in full planning mode for the Erie Festival of Dance that will take place next weekend. The festival will feature all types of dance from the Erie area as well as will host Lehrer Dance, a contemporary company from Buffalo, NY.

Other than that, everyone is just focusing on finishing up their midterm tests and essays. Anticipation for Raw Edges XIII is building and the choreographers are finishing up their pieces for adjudication in a couple weeks.

“A star danced, and under that was I born.” - William Shakespeare

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Midterms week!

Hello Everyone!

Its another busy week here in the Mercyhurst Dance Department. Not only is it midterms week but several of our students are getting ready for the Youth America Grand Prix competition this weekend in Chicago. Midterms in the dance department vary depending on the teacher of the class. They range from learning a combination and videotaping it for evaluation, writing a paper,or having a conference with your teacher.

The Youth America Grand Prix competition is the world’s largest student ballet scholarship competition that awards over $250,000 annually in scholarships to leading dance schools worldwide. The competition is held annually around the world and in New York City, and is open to dance students of all nationalities 9-19 years old. Launched in 1999 by two former dancers of the world-renowned Bolshoi Ballet, Larissa and Gennadi Saveliev, YAGP is also a 501(C)(3) non-profit organization created with a mission to provide extraordinary educational and professional opportunities to young dancers, acting as a stepping stone to a professional dance career. Now in its 12th Season, YAGP has awarded over 2 million in scholarships to the leading dance schools worldwide. Over 25,000 dancers worldwide have participated in YAGP’s international workshops, competitions, and audition classes. Over 200 YAGP alumni are now dancing with 50 companies around the world, including American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet, Paris Opera Ballet and San Francisco Ballet, among others.

In other news, Lehrer Dance taught a master class here on Sunday. About 25 students attended the master class and had an amazing time learning and performing the contemporary dance combinations. The Lehrer style focused on using your entire body to dance and reaching past your boundaries in your movement. It was an amazing experience for all those involved and the good news is they will be returning to Mercyhurst for the Erie Festival of Dance next weekend where they will both perform and teach a master class!

“I get up, I walk, I fall down. Meanwhile I keep on dancing.” - Author Unknown

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Hello Everyone,

Its been a quiet week so far here in Erie. Everyone is focused on getting back into shape after the holiday break as well as working hard in their academic classes. However, tomorrow will be an exciting day as it is our first audition day of the new year! We have six girls coming to take class and possibly be a part of the freshman class next year. It is always fun to see new faces in the department.

In other news, we also have a number of students attending the Youth America Grand Prix on the weekend of January 21st. They will be performing various classical solos as well as a group piece in Chicago. We wish them the best of luck in the competition!

"Dance- an art form. The body- an instrument. Learn to play the instrument and master the art form." -Debbie Dee

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Happy New Year!!!

Hello Everyone!

2011 has officially kicked off here in the danceSpace and everyone is back and ready to work. Academics as well as dance classes are in full swing and everyone has jumped right back into life here on campus.

In exciting department news we will be taking part in the Erie Festival of Dance on the 29th of January. The purpose of the festival is to showcase the talent and recognize the achievements of local dancers, past and present. It is presented by the Erie Dance Consortium produces the bi-annually. This year the Consortium is honored to join Stairways Behavioral Heath of Erie in their 50th Anniversary Celebration, bringing awareness to mental health and wellness by embracing the theme Wellness in Body, Mind and Spirit. The festival gives local dance companies, seasoned professionals and children the opportunity to join together as performers and audience members. While exposing audiences to dance in its many forms we are reflecting our cultural and ethnic diversity and demonstrating the interrelations of the arts through collaboration with other art forms.

In other exciting news, alumni Trevor Sones will be returning to the department this week to teach several master classes! Mr. Sones is currently a cast member with the national broadway tour of CATS and we are extremely honored to be able to host him for a week.

"Dance Is Life" - Trevor Sones