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Seton Hill University's 'Dance Spectrum' offers something for everyone to enjoy

| Tuesday, April 24, 2018, 12:15 p.m.
Seton Hill University dancers Alyssa Frank, Michele Gala and Shelby Walsh rehearse a piece from “Dance Spectrum.”
Seton Hill University Presents “Dance Spectrum” April 26 to 29.
Seton Hill University dancers Alyssa Frank, Michele Gala and Shelby Walsh rehearse a piece from “Dance Spectrum.” Seton Hill University Presents “Dance Spectrum” April 26 to 29.

Seton Hill University's annual season-ending “Dance Spectrum” is important to dance students like Sydney Molter of Jeannette and Shelby Walsh of Coraopolis, who have been polishing their techniques for weeks.

“There is such a variety of dances in this show,” says Molter, a junior dance performance and choreography major. “Just the three pieces that I am in alone are so different from each other and there is much more in the show. I cannot wait to get out there and show everyone all the hard work that was put into this.”

Walsh, a freshman dance performance, choreography and pedagogy major, is hoping for a good turnout from the community at the dance concerts April 26-29 at Seton Hill Performing Arts Center in Greensburg.

“I believe this show offers something for everyone to enjoy, from extremely technical dances to dramatic ones,” Walsh says. “The cast is filled with amazing dancers who have worked so hard and deserve to have a full audience to appreciate what we have been working on for this semester.”

The program features original pieces by two Seton Hill faculty members – TaMara Swank, assistant professor of dance, and Stefan Zubal, assistant professor of theater and dance – with guest choreographers Gerard Holt, adjunct ballet instructor and choreographer at Seton Hill, and Aubrey Worek, an adjunct dance professor at the university and dance and fitness instructor in Greensburg.

Swank has choreographed two pieces for “Dance Spectrum,” which she says are very different in both style and concept. “A Walk in the Park” is set to music by Sidney Bechet and is a fun and light-hearted look at love and friendship. “Second Self” is a high-energy dance piece “that examines taking on behaviors of those around us and the struggle to maintain a connection with our own self.”

Swank says she enjoys creating work that is entertaining.

“I challenged myself to do that for this concert with two very different pieces,” she says. “Throughout the rehearsal process, I also challenged the dancers to consider how they were connecting the movements and how transitions can influence the quality of movement.”

Zubal has contributed three works to the concert; a ballet, a contemporary dance work and a dance for camera featuring tap.

“The ballet, ‘Trio in D Minor,' is homage to my classical ballet roots,” he says. “It is styled after George Balanchine and features music by Brahms.”

His contemporary dance work, “Get Gone,” is a female empowerment piece.

“The work opens with voice-overs from our wonderful theater students utilizing ‘catcalling' from Boals Theatre of the Oppressed and transitions into a dance portion,” he explains.

His strong interest in dance technology inspired his third piece, a light-hearted tap dance for camera titled “Hoofin'” filmed in the SHU Arts building. “The dance was supposed to be filmed outside up on the hill and it was far too cold, plus there was snow on the ground,” he says.

Worek says her piece, “Veiled Transcendence,” takes the audience on a journey from stereotypical college life down a path of uncertainty as the dancers venture out into the “real world.” The work features acrobatics, partner stunts and an impressive lift sequence.

Holt's contribution to the program is his “Last of the Trojan Women,” loosely based on the play “The Trojan Women” by Greek playwright Euripides.

“Like the play, my ballet follows the events that happen to the women of the Trojan royal family, and most of the Trojan women after the siege and sack of the ancient city of Troy,” he says. “I suppose my goal in creating it would be that, at heart, I'm a frustrated ancient historian” with an interest in Biblical history and a goal to create “new classics” with his work.

Candy Williams is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.

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