Theatre and Dance’s spring concert fuses genres


Freshman dance major Zoe Zuleger (left) and sophomore dance major Stephen Blood rehearse for the spring dance concert on Thursday. The dance concert debuted on Friday with six dance sets which included alumni and students.

By Deanna Frances

This year’s Spring Dance Concert featured live music and a variety of dance genres, including ballet, contemporary and structured improvisation.

The NIU School of Theatre and Dance students performed their annual dance concert Friday at Huntley Middle School, 1515 S. Fourth St. The concert featured six dance sets that included collaborations between School of Theatre and Dance alumni and School of Music students.

Michael Mellul, stage manager and senior theatre design and technology major, said students worked on the performances for the entire semester before premiering their final set April 10-12 at the Ruth Page Center for Performing Arts in Chicago. Mellul said he enjoyed working on this concert because it provided a unique opportunity to perform in the city of Chicago.

“I think it’s different than most theatre productions,” Mellul said. “It was interesting taking it from Chicago to here.”

The final dance set, “Spent Days Out Yonder,” was a 10 minute excerpt from a larger work entitled “You Walk?” and featured the dancers performing structured improvisation. Structured improvisation is the ability to spontaneously create movement while working along the guidelines or theme of the performance piece.

Dance coordinator Judith Chitwood said she enjoyed watching the variation in each dance set.

“The final dance is all a structured improv,” Chitwood said. “So it’s very interesting to see what they do every night.”

Alumni dancers who performed in the concert enjoyed being able to come back to NIU and perform with current students, said alumna Alanna Nielsen.

“It was an amazing experience,” Nielsen said. “I think seeing my professors and getting to work with them and the students was the best part. It brought back memories.”

Audience member Christina Krueger, 28, of DeKalb said she enjoyed the performance because of its display of different dance styles.

“I really liked that they had several pieces not all within the same genre,” Krueger said. “I liked how it showcased all of the dancers with all their different talents.”