Anna Rinaggio, Campus Carrier asst. arts and living editor
Berry College Dance Company (BCDC) recently began rehearsals for their winter show, ‘Holiday Wonders.’ The show features choreography by Sara Pecina, the director of the dance department at Berry, and seven BCDC students.
Rehearsals for the production began the week after dance company auditions were held in August. The show will include BCDC dancers as well as dancers from Baird Ballet in downtown Rome.
“We will also have some local students — some middle and high school students — that take classes at Baird Ballet downtown that are in my classes that will come and perform as well, so they get to have some of a college experience,” Pecina said.
While many of the dances celebrate the holiday season in an upbeat way, Pecina said that there are a few pieces that focus on the more serious aspects of the holidays.
“[The show is] kid friendly, family friendly, joyous holiday,” Pecina said. “Some [are] more joyous, some [have] reverence for what the holiday season means, because there are some, not solemn, just more serious pieces as well.”
Jessie Cross, a sophomore dance minor who is choreographing a piece for the show, said that she wanted to choreograph a dance that was less about Christmas and more about spending time with loved ones.
“I wanted [the dance] to be a song about the people in your life — not even necessarily your family – and I didn’t really want a Christmasy song, just like a holiday song,” Cross said.
This is Cross’s first time choreographing for a show at Berry, and she said that she is most excited to play with the musicality of the song and see how the audience receives it.
“I’m really into musicality in my choreography,” Cross said. “I like to hit every note, and I like the audience to see what the music sounds like and hear parts of the music they might not have heard. I’m really excited to put that on bodies and see how the audience reacts.”
Sarah Huffman, a senior middle grades education major with a minor in dance, said that she wanted to focus more on having her choreography tell a story.
“The serving the story is a lot of what’s driving my choreographing process in this particular rendition,” Huffman said. “There’s musicality stuff too, but [the] story tends to come first, then I play with the movement and see what comes of that.”
This is Huffman’s second year choregraphing for a BCDC show, and she said that it has helped her learn more about herself and her teaching style.
“I think choreography has also helped prepare me a little bit better to teach dance in general, because you have a dance pedagogy class for the minor, but you have limited experience with that, and choreography on people is a different experience than say teaching a math class,” Huffman said. “So having that, being able to see how you naturally run things and how you need to run things, leaning how to adapt to dancers and things like that has been interesting.”
‘Holiday Wonders’ is not the only upcoming event for the dance department, though. The department recently started a new chapter of the National Dance Education Organization (NDEO), an organization dedicated to providing opportunities for dance education to people of all backgrounds.
Pecina is excited about the program and all the opportunities for dance exposure it will open up to Berry students.
“[NDEO] is a registered student organization on campus for anyone interested in dance and education,” Pecina said. “They will be hosting their own events like dance movie nights, open classes in various genres from students, from some guest artists, that’s open to campus.”
Pecina also mentioned that another way to get involved with dance at Berry is through taking classes from the department and auditioning for the company. Every class is open to all students, no matter their level of experience. Company auditions, held in August and January, are also open to all, and Pecina encourages anyone who is thinking about joining to do it.
“We love when new people come,” Pecina said. “Like genuinely get excited when people come. It’s a very welcoming group of students, and I like to think I’m welcoming as well. And we work to give people opportunities. Even if you don’t have the same experience, we want to work with you and help give you the experience of dancing and performing and meet you where you’re at, and then obviously push you, but we love working with a variety of people.”
Cross said that students should not be scared to get involved with dance because it is a judgement free zone.
“I think that dance at Berry is a really easy way to get into the world of dance because it’s a really low stakes environment,” said Cross. “Everyone is so kind, and Professor Pecina is so wonderful, and all our company managers are fantastic and so helpful, but it’s like a really judgement free zone.”
‘Holiday Wonders’ will be performing at the Sisters Theater December 2-3. Tickets will be free. You can follow the BCDC and NDEO social medias on Instagram @bcdancecompnay and @berry_ndeo.