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UNH Dance Company Show 2014…Meet the Dancers!

Graceful ballerinas, up beat tappers, and show stopping aerial performers, the UNH Dance Company show was one you didn’t want to miss! This year the UNH Dance Company had two fabulous shows featuring UNH’s most talented ballet, jazz, tap and aerial dancers.

The ballet company preformed Peter and the Wolf, a Russian ballet composed by Sergei Prokofiev. It is a children’s story about a young boy, Peter, who goes against his grandfather’s wishes and captures a wolf in the forest. The ballet company also preformed another ballet piece to Piano Concerto No.3. The UNH ballet company choreographed by Susan Endrizzi was elegant and engaging with a humorous twist.

JTA (jazz, tap, aerial) preformed everyone’s favorite classic, Alice in Wonderland. The dancers took the audience through the rabbit hole and into a magical and mysterious place. The talent, acting, and costumes were unreal. UNH is one of the few schools that teach the unique art form of aerial dance. These dancers wowed the audience with their strength and grace.

Her Campus interviewed a few of the UNH Dance Company members and directors! Meet the dancers and chorographers and get to know a little more about dance and what it takes here at UNH!

Luke Thompson 16’

HC: How long have you been dancing?

LT: Since about my sophomore year of high school except, I didn’t dance that seriously. So my specific Jazz, Tap, Ballet and Ariel wasn’t until college at UNH.

HC: Oh well I would never guess that! What was your favorite part about playing the Grandfather in Peter and the Wolf ?

LT: Honestly I really didn’t like it at first. But I liked beating up Max Auger ’14.

HC: What were the rehearsals like for Ballet Company?

LT: They were ok, we did a lot of repeat, practicing the dances until they were perfect. A lot of times I would run my part once then sit and watch for an hour and a half then run my part again. Sometimes they were very hectic but it slowly came together. Lary Robertson was a big help, but Susan did a good job.

HC: Are there any rituals or traditions you do before you preform?

LT: Well we obviously always warm up. For Dance Company we have a chant.

HC: What’s the chant? Or is it a secret.

LT: Hahaha well this year we did it to the tune of “Don’t Drop that Dun Dun Dun” we did Don’t Drop that Torgete…and then we went “don’t eat that shroom Alice” …We mixed JTA and Ballet Co.

LT: Oh actually I thought of another tradition.

HC: What’s that?

LT: Lary comes around to everyone and he kisses his fingers and then puts them on the two parts of your collar bones and he calls it “kissing your jewels” because you want to preform on stage by opening yourself up as if your presenting fine jewels and you want to show everything. Like, “ I’m so fabulous and important and I look great” and that’s what Lary does to remind you. He comes around and makes sure he gets you on your jewels. Oh and you say “merde”

HC: What does that mean?

LT: It means shit in French

HC: Oh…

LT: It’s a tradition that ballet dancers, and dancers in general just say to each other.  

Maddie Judge ‘15

HC: How Long have you been dancing?

MJ: I’ve been dancing since I was 3

HC: What was your favorite part about playing the Cat in Peter and the Wolf?

MJ: My favorite part about the cat was that it was a lot of acting. It was also the hardest part for me because it’s not really what I’m used to, but once I got into it it was a lot of fun.

HC: Are there any rituals or traditions you do before you preform?

MJ: Before I go on I have to run through and mark my dance in my head. Then right before I go on stage I have to crack all my joints starting in my ankles and then up to my neck… That one is pretty gross

HC: It’s interesting though! What is your favorite memory from your experiences on the dance company this year?

MJ: What I’ll miss the most about this show will be Larry, for a lot of reasons. One being his ritual of going around to each dancer individually before each show and reminding us to shine.


Max Auger 14’

HC: How many years have you been dancing?

MA: Well, that’s kind of complicated. I first got my taste for dance at 14 at the Palace Theatre, but I didn’t get serious about dance until I was a freshman here when I was asked to join the Ballet Company… So maybe it’s not that complicated haha.

HC: So basically you’ve like it for a while! What is your favorite part of being in the dance company?

MA: I love that the dance company allows me another chance to perform, but also the comradery. Everyone is a giant family.

HC: That’s awesome how you can have both. How many years have you been doing Aerial dance?

MA: I have only been doing aerial for 3 semesters. It really sat by the way side for a long time for me because I was loading up on technique classes to catch up with everyone because I started dancing so late.

HC: Are you kidding me?! You did amazing in your aerial piece in Alice in Wonderland. What are the best and worst parts of doing aerial dance?

MA: Hahahah, thank you! The best part is the work out it gives you. It really gets you into shape and cuts down on how often you need to go to the gym. The only downside is it beats you up. Bruises on bruises, but you eventually get used to it.

HC: That’s what everyone has been saying! What is your favorite memory from this season?

MA: Yeah, the bruises are definitely worth it. I think my favorite memory is the entire process of Prokeifiev’s 3rd Piano Concerto. It was so much fun to just dig into that piece and find out how it was going to unravel for us. I didn’t know where Susan was going to take it. She took it to a really good place though. It was very exposing technically so it was a challenge, but I loved it.

HC: What would be your number one tip for a beginner dancer wanting to improve?

MA: My advice for a beginner dancer wanting to improve is to just dance as much as possible; take as many ballet classes as possible. It’s one of the few techniques that will help you improve in not only ballet but other dance forms as well like modern, and contemporary. Stay with it. Dance is one of the most frustrating things in the world to get good at but push through it. As long as you keep showing up to class and take all of the teachers corrections to heart, not just the ones that are directed towards you but the ones that you might not think are directed towards you as well. As long as you enroll yourself in a ballet class you are on the right track.


Shayla Stwart 14’

HC: How long have you been dancing?

SS: 18 Years.

HC: What was your favorite part about playing Alice in Alice in Wonderland?

SS: I loved that I was on the stage for the whole show because I got to experience every single part of it.

HC: How long have you been doing Aerial dance?

SS: This is my 3rd year

HC: Oh Really? That is so inspiring. I’m a dance minor. I’m excited to start aerial! What are the biggest challenges of Aerial dancing?

SS: The biggest challenge with aerial is definitely getting the strength when you start. It takes a long time getting strong enough to get through a whole routine. But once you’re done it it feels awesome!

HC: What is your fondest memory of this year JTA?

SS: Definitely getting to partner work on the lyra apparatus with my best friend Melissa Beauvais ’14 (Cheshire Cat). I don’t know if we will ever perform together again so I will definitely cherish that moment for the rest of my life!

Ashley Saracy 15’

HC: How many years have you been dancing?

AS: I’ve been dancing for 18 years

HC: What was your favorite dance/part you played in Alice in Wonderland?

AS: Probably the caterpillar number because it was the most fun and upbeat song that I got to dance to.

HC: That was my favorite number in Alice in Wonderland! Are there any rituals or traditions you do before you preform?

AS: Generally we do a company warm up with both the JTA and the Ballet Company, and we switch off each night doing a ballet and jazz warm up. We also come up with a group chant or song we sing before every show.

HC: Luke told me about that! Sounds like fun. What is your favorite memory from your experience on the dance company this year?

AS: Well in general I have always loved performing in front of a crowd, and any chance I get to do it I’ll take it. Also just being able to hang out with all the girls and guys on the company makes us closer especially during all the stage rehearsals and performances, so it’s always fun to be able to get to know each other better.


Kayla Lennon 15’

HC: How many years have you been dancing?

KL: I’ve been dancing for 15 years, started when I was 5.

HC: What was your favorite roll/dance in Alice in Wonderland?

KL: I think my favorite role was the gryphon because I was able to have fun with it during the dialogue scenes, but I also really enjoyed the triple trap willow tree dance because it’s not something that I get to do often

HC: That was really cool to watch too! How many years have you been doing aerial dance?

KL: I’ve been doing aerial regularly for 3 years but I did a trial class for a week at my studio in High School.

HC: What are the best and worst parts of aerial dancing?

KL: The worst is the affect is has on the body, I’m always getting bruises or burns, it tends to be very painful depending on what you’re doing. It’s very exhausting which makes it hard for me to do anything after doing aerial during the day. The best part is everything about it. The fact that I’m able to fly by doing this art makes all the worst parts of it not matter. It’s an exhilarating art form that is so rare to be able to do. There’s no feeling like doing drops in the fabric or hanging from your ankles on the trapeze. Not only all of that but it’s physically demanding so it helps to keep me healthy and in shape. I’m so lucky to be able to experience it.

HC: Wow that’s really amazing that you get to do that at UNH. What is your favorite memory of being in JTA this season?

KL: My favorite memory of being on JTA is the same every year. A few weeks before the show opens we start rehearsing in the theatre. This is always my favorite. The entire company, ballet and JTA, sits in the audience and we watch each other perform. The rehearsals are hours long but it doesn’t matter. These rehearsals truly unite us as one company and it’s so fun to be able to see the process turn into the final product. Also being on stage with this years seniors and being able to dance with them are also memories that I won’t ever forget. I’ve gotten to be so close to our seniors and am so thankful I was able to share this entire experience with them.

Susan Endrizzi (Ballet chorographer and director)

HC: How long have you studied ballet?

SE: About probably over 30 years.

HC: Oh wow that’s amazing. What inspired you to choose Peter and the Wolf for this years Ballet Company show?

SE: I wanted to choose something that would complement Alice in Wonderland. I also wanted to do something that would showcase a diversity of Prokofiev’s work so that’s why I did the Piano Concerto as well.

HC: Both were beautiful. What was the most difficult part about choreographing a ballet show?

SE: I don’t know… I would say just coordinating all of the dancers together. It was a long process but I don’t think any one part of it would stand out as being the most difficult.

HC: What is the best part?

SE: I think the best part was seeing it come together and the performance. To see the dancing, costumes and set all work together on stage.

HC: What is one of your fondest memories of this dance season?

SE: I think just hearing the positive response from the audience. Seeing the dancers really develop their characters develop their characters on stage.


Mary Beth Marion (JTA Co-choreographer)

HC: What inspired you to choose Alice in Wonderland for this years JTA performance?

MBM: Alice in Wonderland was originally done 10 years ago and Gay Nardone, who was our director and choreographer, was the one who made the selection. It was always something really important to her because it incorporates all forms of dance we have here at UNH and that’s always important. We want to always incorporate the styles of dance we offer and make it family friendly because sometimes in our season we don’t have that. So that was the biggest inspiration, to showcase what we do here and make it friendly for all audiences.

HC: What is the most difficult part of choreographing the JTA show?

MBM: I think there are a lot of things that become very difficult when you work in a studio space. Some things seem to work beautifully in the studio and not work very well on stage, and vice versa. So I think I feel most challenged when I’m making a dance, trying to visualize what it will look like on a stage space. Also, making sure I use all of my dancers and their abilities to the best of their potential. They have to love what they are doing, they have to be committed to the work you are giving them and only then will it make the vision come alive.

HC: What is the best part about choreographing the JTA show?

MBM: The best part is I think seeing my students faces, I know that sounds cheesy, but I adore seeing all of their hard work being shared with an audience and then seeing the energy that they feel and sort of the inspiration and growth that they have taken from the experience. There’s nothing better.

HC: What is one of your favorite memories of producing this years Alice in Wonderland?

MBM: Oh my gosh there are so many. I think seeing all of the costumes, bringing it to life at dress rehearsal. The kids faces whether they loved them or hated them because there was defiantly different reactions. But honestly, I think if I could choose one memory it would bee seeing Max Auger 14’ preform. He was the mock turtle who did the Spanish web aerial. He came to us with very limited dance training and he has been here for 4 years and he came a boy and he is leaving a man. It is just the most rewarding thing as a teacher when you see someone who has worked so hard and becomes so successful. I think that memory of his progress, his tenacity and his growth will stay with me for the rest of my life.




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