Every year, the Elon University Dance Company seniors are challenged to choreograph, cast and produce a show showcasing everything they’ve learned in their four years as Elon dancers. Inspired by last year’s class, which collaborated on one longer piece for its senior show, senior Colette Dong said this year’s senior class wanted to think collaboratively and outside the box for their pieces.
“It was highly suggested that we collaborate,” Dong said. “It used to be that everyone had their own piece. We wanted to drift away from that model and work more as a unit. Some people are more performers, some choreographers, some into film, so we split up like that.”
The show is marketed under the name “11x14,” which not only represents the 11 members of the Elon Dance Company Class of 2014, but also references a standard picture frame. Senior dancer Kristel Tedesco explained with the diverse ideas between the four dances, they decided the best way to market their show was to emphasize the different frames of mind that led to the creation of these pieces.
“We all had stylistic choices [for our dances],” Tedesco said. “We made that work and came up with this idea of seeing the world through four different frames of mind. We have the collective experience of Elon — the same teachers, the same training — but four different styles and four different perspectives on what we’re going to say with our pieces.”
The show is completely student-produced. The students did their own choreography, fundraising, production and even film and editing for those groups using a video element. Senior Jennifer McAllister said the immense responsibility they took on has prepared her for life in the dance world.
“What’s been really nice to me is seeing what goes into making a production,” she said. “I have a solid base of how to fundraise, to make posters and getting those posters approved, and to get into video. This experience has been my own personal textbook, which has been great.”
Senior Kristina Mazzola looks forward to seeing the production come together and finally show her peers what their class has been working so hard on all year.
“I’m excited to see it all coming together, because I have no idea what it looks like right now,” Mazzola said. “I hope people enjoy our work as much as we have [enjoyed] putting it together. We’ve been working since before last year, and I can’t wait for them to see what I’ve been talking about and losing my sanity over for over 12 months now.”
McAllister said she hopes this year’s production will inspire next year’s dance class to challenge themselves creatively for their senior show, just as last year’s class inspired her’s to do something different.
“I feel like I’ve created something that sums up my college experience,” McAllister said. “I’ll leave this as my legacy and I’m very proud of it. I hope next year’s [dance] class can take this and create powerful art in the university setting. It’s a springboard for them to do something [original] themselves.”
For Tedesco, it’s time for the piece to communicate with the audience because for her, dance is an art form meant to interact with the people who experience it.
“I’m ready for it no longer to be mine,” Tedesco said. “It’s about giving people an experience. I want people to come see the show, watch it, experience it and have a reaction to it. I want to show this kind of dance to people who have never seen it before.”
Now, the seniors are finally together, rehearsing their completed pieces in full run-throughs before it premieres at 6:00 and 8:30 p.m. on May 8 in the Blackbox Theatre. Performances will also take place at the same times May 9 and 10.