Senior Dance Concert: Hope Rising

     This past weekend, Eastern’s dance department put on their annual Senior Showcase. Each year, the senior dancers choreograph pieces for the show. Each senior composes several distinct pieces, typically telling a story or sharing a theme. This year’s showcase, Hope Rising, was split into two programs (A and B), each of which were performed twice during the weekend.

     Program A, performed on Friday evening and Saturday afternoon, featured pieces choreographed by senior dance majors Jordan Bonney, Alexandra Roberts and Dominique Ridley. Show A began with Bonney’s pieces, a collection she titled “The Fight to Float.” Bonney’s pieces focus on water, something which she has always felt drawn to and captivated by. She uses her choreography and the skill of her dancers to carry the audience through sensations of drowning, fighting to swim and finally reaching shore and breathing easily, an allegory for the struggle that life can sometimes be.

     Bonney’s pieces were followed by Roberts’ choreography, a moving collection entitled “Bring Her Home,” which she dedicated to victims of sexual abuse and sex trafficking. Roberts’ pieces featured music from the soundtrack of “Les Misérables” and choreography that was both raw and impactful, bringing the audience face to face with the harsh realities of victims of sexual abuse and sex trafficking.*

     Show A ended with the choreography of Dominique Ridley. Ridley’s collection, entitled “My Doxology: A Hymn of Praise,” sought to highlight the multiplicity of modes of worship we witness in the Church today. Her second piece, “Proper,” spotlighted the vocal talent of senior music major Alanna Piper, who sang “As the Deer.” Ridley’s pieces ended the show on a lively note, concluding with a piece to Michelle Williams’ “Say Yes” that had the whole crowd on their feet and dancing down the aisles.

     Program B, performed on Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon, featured choreography by senior dance majors Samantha Ambrico, Hannah Brumbach and Megan Schultz, as well as a performance by senior dance minor Maddie Ridgeway.

    The show opened with Ambrico’s choreography, a collection which she titled “The Journey Unseen.” These pieces highlighted the struggles of Ambrico’s journey through life as a blind person, revealing the strength that life  has cultivated in her and the glory it brings, constantly, to God. Her choreography struck the audience to the core, bringing them to tears.  This culminated in Ambrico’s final piece, “Blind,” in which she danced a solo to the spoken word “A Dance for Sam,” written and spoken by her friend and first-year roommate, Blake Plimpton.

     Next on stage was the choreography of Hannah Brumbach, titled, simply, “Hymn Study.” Brumbach describes her collection: “Humanity possesses a universal need to feel connected to each other. Familiar traditions like hymns provide this. They serve to mend together recollection, the feelings attached with our pasts, with the promise that the future brings; they help us make sense of where we have been in order to stand forthright and simply to go where we are going. ‘Hymn Study’ is a memorial of this reflective phenomenon.” Her precise choreography, woven together with ancient and beloved hymns, communicated this message to the audience in a powerful way.

     Brumbach’s work was followed by a solo piece, choreographed and performed by senior youth ministries major Maddie Ridgeway.  Ridgeway’s piece, “Complacency,” was inspired by her work with the homeless in Philadelphia. Her choreography communicated the deep need for us as humans, when we witness injustice, to allow ourselves to process it for what it is, and then not just to sit still, complacent, but to act in loving response to that injustice.

     Show B concluded with Megan Schultz’s collection, “Promise Through the Shadows.” Her pieces featured a powerful spoken word by Jon Jorgenson and posed the question, “What place can fear have, in the light of the Gospel?”

     Each piece was distinctive and beautiful, carrying both the thumbprint of each choreographer and of Christ. It was truly an honor to witness the product of a lifetime’s hard work in each of these pieces.

     *If you are a victim of sexual abuse, this is not your fault, and you can get help. Call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at (800)656-4673.

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