Emotion Showcase Leaped to the Leffler Stage this Spring
By Anna Sorrentino
This spring, Elizabethtown College student dancers spent their free time rehearsing and choreographing complicated dance routines to hit pop songs. They performed their work at the Emotion Showcase. The theme of this spring’s showcase is, “Better When I’m Dancing.” For many students, this theme describes exactly their feelings about dance. Emotion’s biannual showcases are an opportunity for E-town students to choreograph, perform, and stay active in a supportive, creative environment.
Though E-town students are a busy group, Emotion remains a vital club on campus. There are usually more than 100 students involved in each showcase. Students take charge of nearly every aspect of the club’s activities, from costumes to choreography. This results in a final showcase that is vibrant and varied.
Twenty-two total dances graced the Leffler Chapel stage this semester. The styles of these dances vary widely from year to year depending on the interests and talents of the student choreographers. This year’s showcase featured the dance styles of lyrical, contemporary, jazz, musical theatre, partner, Latin and Irish dancing.
These styles are not always paired with traditional music—choreographers enjoy mixing dance and music in unexpected ways. For instance, this showcase paired tap dance with Gwen Stefani’s throwback hit “Hollaback Girl.”
Seniors Stephanie Miller and Shaye DiPasquale co-choreographed “Hollaback Girl” after positive reception to their tap rendition of pop tune “Hey Momma/Hit the Road Jack.” For Miller, an English professional writing major, choreographing for Emotion can put a strain on her busy schedule. Still, she finds the experience to be irreplaceable.
“Emotion let me get back into something I really love,” says Miller. Miller had not danced for years prior to college. “When I auditioned for a tap dance my freshman year, I was actually cut because I was rusty. I got back to it, though, and this is my sixth semester dancing with Emotion.”
Emotion isn’t just useful for gaining dance skills. It also reinforces the soft skills valued by employers.
“I have surprised myself with how much I can lead,” Miller said. She will take this newly developed skill into the workforce after she graduates.
Choreographers are expected not only to create a dance from scratch but also to serve as a “team captain” of sorts. Underclassmen students often look up to their choreographers as trusted, responsible individuals.
First-year Hannah Loy is a first-time Emotion showcase participant. She danced to “High Hopes,” which was choreographed by senior Emily Seiser. Like Miller, Loy hadn’t danced for several years prior to starting college. She was drawn to this dance because it wasn’t as intimidating as some of the other pieces offered this year.
“It’s a lot of fun. We’re doing everything from a kick line to who-knows-what,” said Loy. To her, rehearsals are a fun way to develop dance skills while meeting new people. It also helps that she likes her choreographer.
“Emily is so nice! She always makes sure that we know what we’re doing, and if we’re not sure, she takes the time to teach us,” said Loy.
Loy was also excited about the showcase because it’s given her a chance to branch out.
“I didn’t put myself out there my first semester,” Loy said. “At the beginning of this semester, I said to myself, ‘you know what, everyone’s doing things they’ve never done before.’” She promptly decided to join Emotion and will likely return for future semesters.
Emotion donates a portion of the showcase’s proceeds to a different cause each night. This year, the showcase benefitted local charity Brittany’s Hope and the family of Nadia Mourtaj, an Emotion dancer who passed away in December. This is an important part of Emotion’s mission, and supporting good causes is a tradition that is likely to continue as long as the club puts on showcases.
With the club gaining popularity each year, it’s likely that this club and its traditions will continue to thrive on E-town’s campus.
“It’s a place for everyone,” Miller said.
“If you’re thinking about it, just do it,” Loy said. “It’s completely worth the experience.”
Anna Sorrentino is a senior theatre and professional writing major. After graduation, she will be attending Villanova University’s M.A. in the theatre program. She is an avid participant in Elizabethtown College Theatre and works in the theatre’s costume shop.