Dance Company reworks concert due to pandemic

Gabriel Smith, Campus Carrier asst. arts & living editor

This November, the Berry College Dance Company will stream a dance concert for three days for the Berry community. The concert will feature a variety of performances and will be pre-recorded to help reduce the risk of technical disruptions during streaming. 

According to junior Elena Baker, dance minor and manager for the Dance Company, while the Company has had to operate mostly online this semester and has held just one in-person meeting for choreographers, the concert will be very similar to those in past years. 

“I’m basically the liaison, sort of, between the dancers and Professor Pecina, so I end up sending out a lot of emails to everybody to try and keep everyone coordinated and make sure that everybody knows what’s happening in relation to any meetings that we have, which have all been on Zoom,” Baker said. “Our goal has just been to make sure that we can do this for as long as possible because if we go online and completely virtual or if we head back home, or whatever is going to happen – if things don’t continue as they have been, we cannot put on our dance concert, which is the reason we are the Dance Company.” 

Sara Pecina, the director of the dance program and artistic director for the Dance Company, echoed Baker’s sentiments about the concert’s importance and elaborated more about the planning making the concert possible this semester. 

“Everything’s been very different,” Pecina said. “We had, for the audition part of the semester, instead of having a mass, what we call ‘cattle call,’ where everyone comes at once to audition, we had students register ahead of time for a 45-minute block, and they did all of their paperwork online before the audition, and then came in and had 15 minutes to warm themselves up out in the Richards Gym, and then they came into the studio for a 30-minute block where they learned two movement combinations – again, masked and in their squares,” Pecina said. 

The squares that Pecina refers to are the eight-foot by eight-foot square markings that she has placed on the floor of the dance studio to allow for social distancing during classes and auditions. 

“We taped out the studio flooring to make eight-by-eight foot boxes to keep students socially distanced, basically the dance version of putting stickers on desks,” Pecina said. “So, they have their boxes to stay in while dancing, which means we don’t have progressions across the floor, they’re dancing in their spots the whole class.” 

Despite the drastic changes to dance classes and the Dance Company, Pecina said she is simply happy to be back and is looking forward to the opportunity to put on a dance performance that can help compensate for the abrupt cancellation of last semester’s concert. 

“Students have been really great about adapting,” Pecina said. “I got emails over the summer asking if we were going to have a Dance Company performance this semester. If we do get to our concert, we should also have some features of last semester’s graduates, our seniors that didn’t get their final performance. They will also be submitting videos to stream with the concert.” 

Event details for the concert are forthcoming, and can be expected online, both on Presence and on the Dance Company’s social media profiles, in about two weeks. 

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