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Senior Dancers Balance Responsibilities Leading Up to Final MCDE Show

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Marist chapter.

Over the next week, the McCann arena will undergo a total makeover as a stage is built for the Marist College Dance Ensemble’s (MCDE) spring showcase. On Saturday, April 16 and Sunday, April 17, family and friends will fill the gym to watch dedicated student dancers tap, turn and tut their way through a 28-number show.

President of the student-run organization, Samantha Soprano, explains that the name of this semester’s show, “Center Stage”, showcases the student-produced choreography. MCDE Website Manager, Kristina Lanza, adds, “When I think about center stage I think about how every time I dance I kind of forget about anything and everyone around me and perform like I am in the center of the stage.”

Sam, Kristina and MCDE Treasurer Alyssa DiBello are the senior members of the club’s executive board. All three are extremely involved in making sure that the show goes on no matter what. Sam, Kristina and Alyssa also all choreographed an original piece for the spring recital.

Alyssa, a math education major who is also involved in the math club, Italian-American club and the emerging leaders program on campus, created a sassy jazz piece to Demi Lovato’s “Confident.” She explains, “This song states how people can be beautiful, powerful, and strong and my dancers so far have done a wonderful job portraying that.” In addition to her choreographer duties, as treasurer of the club she is also responsible for maintaining the club’s finances, submitting catering orders and overseeing the show bank.

Kristina is also an education major but is focusing on elementary and special education and psychology. She is a member of Teachers of Tomorrow and Autism Speaks U and a greeter and tour guide in the Admissions Office. Her dancers will be preforming to Karmin’s cover of “Can’t Feel My Face.” Kristina is in charge of updates to Dance Ensemble’s website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

As President, Sam is in charge of planning the entire final production. She says, “Everything from picking the dates to picking dances every part is run through me, as crazy as that sounds. I’ve gotten good at delegating things because it would be completely impossible to do it alone. I’m very lucky to have such a great board.” When she isn’t overseeing the recital preparations, she is spends her time studying for classes as a chemistry major and math and biology minor, getting involved with Kappa Kappa Gamma or working in Admissions and as a TA for science labs. If that isn’t enough, she taught a contemporary dance to the song “Sort of” by Ingrid Michaelson, a piece that she says represents overcoming a struggle and moving on. “It relates well to where I am in my life.”

It is a good thing that Alyssa, Kristina and Sam are used to gracefully balancing busy lifestyles because this upcoming week will force them to multi-task and be constantly on their feet. When asked about the behind the scenes work, Kristina explains that the work starts with booking the show venue and rehearsal spaces and continues with holding auditions for choreographers, monitoring weekly classes, collecting donations for raffle baskets, selecting a non-profit organization to support, developing lighting cues with the choreographers, ordering apparel and flowers, hiring a videographer and overseeing the crew that builds the custom stage in McCann. “The hardest thing is making sure everything that everything is done, there are so many moving parts it’s difficult to keep track of them all,” adds Sam.

While the executive board is hard at work making sure that the finishing touches are put in place for the show, the members of club are tirelessly practicing their dances at nightly rehearsals during a week affectionately called “Hell Week.” “Yes, it is exhausting dancing in McCann from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m., says Kristina, “but it is so much fun. Some of my best memories with MCDE are from the rehearsal weeks over the past four years.”

Sam shares that after graduation, “I’m definitely going to miss the atmosphere the most. I’ve made some of my best friends through dance and I’m so glad it’s been such a huge part of my college career!” Kristina agrees that the friendships she has developed has been the best part of the club. “I remember freshman year walking into the gym looking for the aerobic studio and seeing Sam just as confused as me and asking her if she was going to MCDE. She was my first friend in dance ensemble and now we’ve been on the board together for two years and will be sharing our last dance together! We’ve come full circle over the past four years.” Many of the seniors in the club, including Sam, Kristina and Alyssa, will be coming together for a contemporary piece dedicated to the graduating class in the spring showcase.

In addition to this special number, audience members “should most look forward to seeing the incredible diversity of the show. We have so many different styles and levels that each number brings something new,” adds Kristina.

After Alyssa, Sam and Kristina dance in their final show, they all hope to continue dancing in some capacity after school. Alyssa is a teacher at her dance studio at home while Kristina’s dream is to teach a dance classes for children with special needs.

Before this trio of seniors goes on to conquer the world beyond Marist, be sure to watch them dance with the rest of MCDE in “Center Stage” this weekend. Student tickets will be on sale for seven dollars in the Breezeway from 6 to 9 p.m. for the Saturday show at 3 p.m. and the Sunday show at 4 p.m. Congratulations in advance on a amazing production to the MCDE executive board, graduating seniors and dedicated dancers in the club.

Lizzy is a co-campus correspondent at Marist College where she is majoring in communication and minoring in studio art, spanish and psychology. She runs for the cross country and track teams, is a member of the dance ensemble and PRSSA and serves as the Class of 2016 President. Lizzy is a self-diagnosed peanut butter addict and a fan of snail mail. Follow her on Twitter @ellpeps.