Willamette students perform in two dance events on campus this month

by University Communications,

Every semester, close to 200 students participate in dance on campus.

This semester is no different.

In November, the theatre department and Willamette Dance Company (WDC) are both producing dance concerts.

“Beginnings: A Dance Concert” runs from Nov. 15-23, while the WDC Fall Concert is scheduled Nov. 7 and 10.

For Professor of Dance Jessi Fouts and WDC President Rachel Ross, the performances offer a unique experience for the audience and performers alike.

“Dance is the most direct way one can express a feeling or emotion,” Fouts says. “A painter uses a brush, a musician uses an instrument, but a dancer uses the body.”

Beginnings: A Dance Concert

Fouts, artistic director of the dance concert, says “Beginnings” is original because it includes everything from tap to aerial in 10 different dances.

“This show is special in that we have amazing talents working together to create a unique dance experience,” Fouts says. “These pieces were created out of love and dedication to the continuation of dance in our community.”

Fouts says the presence of dance on campus is extremely important.

“College can be a time of struggle for many students, and with dance available on campus, it allows for students to express what they cannot say in words,” Fouts says.

Thirty dancers — aided by a team of professionals — will perform in eight shows, beginning with a preview Nov. 14. As the department begins a new era of dance on campus, the show is an eclectic combination of pieces — each with their own theme and inspiration sure to evoke emotions in the audience, Fouts says.

“The audience will be able to connect with what the dancers are expressing,” Fouts says. “Whether it be happy, sad, uncomfortable or intimidating, each piece is unique in the effect it has on those watching.”

Willamette Dance Company Fall Concert

Student choreographed, student danced, student produced.

The WDC, one of the largest student organizations on campus, produces one of the most anticipated and attended student shows each semester.

“We make our show such that dancers of any level can participate,” Ross says.

While the WDC will accept donations on behalf of the Salem Arts Association, the show is free and open to the public.

Ross says the company allows students the freedom to express themselves in any form of dance they wish.

“The company provides an artistic outlet for many students, and there is a lot of leadership experience for executives and choreographers,” Ross says. “People grow every year, even semester to semester.”

This year, the performance dates were scheduled earlier to enable students to participate in the “Beginnings” concert as well.

While the lost practice time has posed a challenge, Ross says the students have worked extremely hard to produce a great show of 10 unique pieces.

“The show is a great way to support peers and see the diversity of talent we have in the student body,” Ross says. “It is going to be fun to see what others have been doing.”

Ticket information

  • The WDC Fall Concert will give two performances, one on Thursday, Nov. 7 at 7 p.m. and the other on Sunday, Nov. 10 at 2 p.m. in Smith Auditorium. Admission is free.
  • “Beginnings: A Dance Concert” runs Nov. 15-23 at the M. Lee Pelton Theatre. Thursday-Saturday evening shows begin at 7:30 p.m. and matinees on Nov. 17 and 23 begin at 2 p.m.

Tickets cost $12 for general admission, $8 for students and seniors 65 and older, and $10 per person for groups of 10 or more.

Tickets may be purchased at the door, by calling the WU Theatre Box Office at 503-370-6221 or by email at thtr-tix@willamette.edu. They are also available at www.boxofficetickets.com and at Travel Salem, 181 High St., 503-581-4325.

• Article by Natalie Pate, politics major