Members of the Geneseo Dance Ensemble performed in the prestigious Steps on Broadway Performance Lab in New York City on Saturday, Feb. 26 – a venue well known in the dance community as a vibrant center that brings together different dance styles from around the world.
This sort of performance lab is designed as a place for college students and amateur dancers to perform their pieces and receive professional and critical feedback. According to senior Allison Bohman, a member of the GDE, the trip marked the first time that Geneseo students attended the event. In fact, the dancers were among the youngest performers at the lab.
Bohman choreographed and performed a piece titled "Love Is Us," and perfomed it with freshman Megan Killea, sophomore Rebeccah Andrew, junior Lauren Whitehead and seniors Jillian DeGironimo, Elizabeth Doyle and Amy LaFleur. The ensemble made a debut of the piece at last year's GDE concert, and will reprise its performance at this year's concert and at G.R.E.A.T. Day.
The students involved in the trip received a travel grant from the Geneseo Foundation and constant support from School of the Arts professor Jonette Lancos.
Bohman said she was inspired to choreograph "Love is Us" after observing stark graffiti on her study abroad trip to Paris. The words were "sacre coeur," which Bohman said roughly translates to ‘love is us' in English. "The black graffiti on a white building was so striking," she said.
After the performance, the dancers reviewed feedback from the audience that turned out to be generally positive. The comments were anonymous, but occupations of the respondents were noted. According to Bohman, a self-identified dance critic mentioned enjoying the "youthfulness and innocence" of the piece.
While there is a certain sense of pride that goes along with choreographing a dance and seeing it to fruition, Bohman said that the whole performance was a "collaborative effort, and wouldn't have been possible without each of the dancers."
The dancers of the GDE are not resting on their current successes, though. GDE will present its annual concert on April 14-17, and will present additional shows beginning with a trip to Perry High School in early April. Bohman said that it is important to perform at venues like high schools to reach out to the community and spread support for the arts during uncertain budgetary times.
The dancers will also perform on April 12 at G.R.E.A.T. Day and at a recognition dinner honoring President Christopher Dahl.