Cedar Crest College newspaper since 1923
Nicole Shute, Crestiad Special
Dancers move energetically throughout the dance studio to the dynamic music. Cat Cogliandro enthusiastically observes and encourages the dancers as she walks around the room. “Stunning” she tells one student, “Perfect” she tells another, as they audition for the chance to perform a professional dance piece in the Cedar Crest College spring dance concert.
The Cedar Crest College dance program hosted a dance residency this spring where an outside dance company was brought in to choreograph a piece. The company chosen this year was the Nicholas Andre Dance Company, a modern dance company based out of New York City. Cogliandro, a member of the company, was elected to conduct the residency.
In addition to obtaining a degree, dancers entering the field are also required to have a comprehensive dance background. Cedar Crest College hosts dance workshops annually to expose students to a variety of dance styles. A different choreographer is brought in regularly to ensure variation. The residency prepares dancers with a memorable experience and a glimpse of life after graduation.
“The main purpose of the residency is to create a learning experience for the dancers and it was important for them to go through this process,” said Robin Gerchman, associate professor of dance at Cedar Crest College.
The six dancers chosen to perform the piece are all dance majors. Three freshman dance majors were chosen as understudies. These students are very serious about dance and some of the graduating seniors aspire to perform professionally after graduation.
Cogliandro stressed the importance of obtaining a dance degree along with gaining dance experience. For a career in concert dance, she said, “it is crucial to have a dance degree.”
According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, there has been a 56 percent increase in the amount of Visual and Performing Art degrees awarded from 2000-2010. Degrees awarded for engineering, which is considered a more practical major, only increased 21 percent.
Cogliandro obtained her Bachelor of Fine Arts in dance from State University of New York, Purchase Conservatory of Dance. She has been dancing with the Nicholas Andre Dance Company for four years and has traveled with her ensemble members to many colleges for workshops and master classes. The artistic director of the company, Nick Ross, could not attend the residency and chose to send Cogliandro by herself. Despite her initial nervousness, she was very enthusiastic about working with the Cedar Crest College dancers.
The piece titled “Passio Nostri” was based on the balance between sanity and insanity. This intense piece and short amount of time to learn the choreography gave the dancers a taste of life as a working artist in the field today.
Education and Dance double major Marlana Hurd said, “It is great to have an outside choreographer come in and set a piece on us that entails different choreographic elements that we are not too familiar with.” “It is always nice to be presented with a challenge.”
The six dancers performed the residency piece in Cedar Crest College’s Spring Dance Concert April 18, 2013 through April 20, 2013. The piece engaged the audience with complex choreography, fast movements, and athleticism.