A Glimpse at the Drexel Dance Performance

The wind broke through Hannah Murphy's parka. Her leotard and leggings were no match for the cold as she waited to cross Chestnut Street towards Mandell. When the pedestrian light finally blinked on, she hurried across the street, mentally preparing herself for this Monday night's dance practicum. From 6 pm to 7:20 pm, Hannah would be practicing modern dance techniques, all in preparation for the winter dance performance. 

Hannah Murphy is a current freshman at Drexel University, studying biology on the pre-med track. With an interest in health, Hannah enjoys cooking and pilates. In her free time, she enjoys reading and writing. She also enjoys physical activities, such as rock climbing and yoga.  Above all of those, however, Hannah's greatest passion is dance. 


Image courtesy of Hannah Murphy

Since she was four years old, Hannah has been dancing, primarily ballet and modern. With the exception of a few years, when she participated in other sports, like lacrosse and karate, dance has been a big part of her life. As a toddler, she and her best friend were introduced to ballet when her neighbor offered to teach it as a side job. Since taking these first classes, Hannah has loved to dance. 

Entering Drexel University, Hannah auditioned for the 2019 winter dance performance. In her audition, Hannah was required to learn parts of the movements. Separating into groups of three or four, Hannah then had to perform the movements in front of the instructors. "I always get nervous for auditions," said Hannah, laughing. "But I felt confident in my abilities. You get to a point where you work really hard, then see if it pans out."

A week after auditions, Hannah received an email informing her that she was chosen to dance in the performance. "I was really excited that I got in, and that I was in Miriam's piece," said Hannah. 

The piece Hannah was chosen for was instructed by Miriam Giguere, focusing on "doing everything backward." Normally, the choreography is taught, followed by lights and music. In this piece, however, the stage lights were done first, after which dancers and music were chosen. When comparing Miriam's piece to others, Hannah said, "Her pieces are very diverse. Some parts are very clean and simple and are very balletic. And then other parts are really chaotic... everybody's doing something different." 

Not only was Hannah a part of Miriam's piece, but she was also a soloist. After the dancers were lined up by height, Hannah was chosen to stand in the spotlight, while the other dancers stood to the side. 

Hannah began attending dance practicums in preparation for the performance shortly after. Dance practicums, occurring on Mondays and Wednesdays from 6 to 7:20 pm, often began with structured exercises. Slowly, dancers performed bigger and bigger movements. Rehearsals differ from dance practicums, in that the dancers simply practice the piece they are in. "You're just working on perfecting whatever movement you're in," said Hannah in regards to dance rehearsals. 

Leading up to the performance, Hannah's rehearsals became every night for the week, called "tech week." All pieces from every instructor were put together, along with lights and sound. 

The winter dance performance was on February 8th and 9th at 8 pm. The performance consisted of five different pieces, all ranging in themes and styles. Miriam's piece was last, beginning with Hannah center stage as the curtain went up. A series of movements, music, and costumes occurred after that. "I really like it," Hannah said about this term's performance. 

Hannah plans on continuing her dance career in the spring term. Her first audition is on Monday, February 12th for the spring dance performance. "Be on time and look professional," Hannah advises for others who plan on auditioning. 

Looking back at her first experience with the Drexel Dance Ensemble, Hannah really enjoyed working with other students and staff. "I really like the ensemble," Hannah said. "It's a really great mixture of people. Some are dance majors, some are not, so it's a really cool community to be a part of."