From performing in masks to dancing in parking lots, an App State club has embraced the change that has come with moving its annual showcase online, continuing to tell stories and connect through movement and music.
App State’s Momentum Dance Club had its first-ever virtual showcase on April 10 live on YouTube.
Momentum Dance, a club that welcomes all students, regardless of their dance background, annually features students performing pieces choreographed by their fellow club members.
“In the momentum, it doesn’t matter who you are,” said choreographer Caroline Jenkins. “It doesn’t matter if you have followed 15 years of dance or if you have never danced in your whole life. You can join us and we are delighted to have you.
This year, each dance was filmed separately in various locations, from studios to parking lots, and edited together for broadcast.
Another novelty of this showcase is a theme. In previous years, the students choreographed the dances however they wanted, but this year they followed the theme of “dancing through film”. Each song was taken from a movie or TV show, which also inspired the stories behind the dances.
Although the recorded performance was something most of these dancers had never experienced, they had a positive view of the situation.
“I think for the most part, it’s very beneficial,” said showcase coordinator Hailey Kalsky. “I think it gives everyone a chance to see what dance and film are like, because that’s where the dance industry is heading.”
Kalsky danced in a piece called “Cringe” which was based on the show “Euphoria” and themed around addiction as well as a piece to Sia’s song “Bird Set Free” from the movie “The Shallows”.
Kalsky also helped with the video editing and said the filming adds an aspect to the dance that is not achievable through live performances.
“With a live performance, the audience looks at it from a certain angle,” Kalsky said. “But with film, you can really get closer to the dancers. You can see the little movements they make with their hands and feet and move the camera in a way that follows that and captures that almost perfectly so the audience really feels like they’re part of that dance.
One of the showcase’s choreographers, Caroline Jenkins, a freshman, choreographed the piece “Cringe.” Jenkins also thinks the virtual format can help reach more people because they don’t have to be there in person to see it, and it’s available to watch on YouTube anytime.
However, she acknowledged that there were still difficulties with the showcase, such as dancing with masks.
“I sat down with my girls, and I was like as a dancer, you’re an athlete of emotion, you have to show it,” Jenkins said. “Even if you only have your eyes, you can still show what you say. Tell your story through this and through your whole body.
Momentum Dance Club Vice President Alexandra Berg danced to “Cringe” and performed a solo to Glee’s cover of the song “Don’t Rain on my Parade” from the musical “Funny Girl.”
“It’s weird sitting with friends and family and watching each other play because obviously friends and family come out to support the show, but you’re not sitting with them while you watch each other. So , it was just as fun as it was a little uncomfortable,” Berg said.
Although the dancers performed the showcase from a distance, they were still able to bond through it.
“Even though we had classes through Zoom, you still have to know everyone,” Kalsky said. “We connected, we created relationships, we joked around. Most of the girls I’ve danced with, I didn’t really know before this showcase.
The showcase can be viewed for free on the Momentum Dance Club Youtube channel.