Twenty years later, and they’re still dancing

Twenty years can fly by pretty quickly—especially when you’re light on your feet.

The dance department will be hosting its 20th anniversary show, “Terrific Twenty,” from  April 16 to 18. The event will include special performances by faculty and alumni in addition to the current student dancers.

For the first time, five of the six dance faculty members will be performing together in a reincarnation of a previously performed dance, “After the Tripodium.”

While some of the professors are still active in dancing, others, like Dr. Joselli Deans, will be stepping back onto the stage for the first time in years.

Deans said she is not nervous about dancing, but she is more concerned about the piece she is choreographing, “Simple Joys,” which will be the first full pointe piece ever performed on Eastern’s stage.

“It’s a big milestone for the development of the program,” Deans said of the intricate piece, which will feature live music.

The dance is dedicated to the people of Haiti and the way they use the simple joys of life to help them get through the horrors of the Jan. 12 earthquake. Deans has family who live in Haiti, and she felt that choreographing such a significant dance to honor them was a fitting tribute.

“I already had conceived the piece before, but the earthquake kind of focused it for me,” Deans said. She designed the piece “to celebrate the simple joys we often overlook” in our daily lives.

Four alumni will also be returning to the stage with choreographed pieces for the anniversary show.

Kara Schmidt, who graduated from Eastern in 2007 and is currently attending the Martha Graham school in New York, is bringing a full cast from her school to perform her dance.
In addition to the featured choreographers, other alumni dancers are coming back to perform some of the pieces.

Junior Heather Mahurin said that the anniversary show is a great opportunity for current students to connect with alumni and see what they are doing with their lives after Eastern.
Mahurin is one of nine student choreographers featured in the show, with her modern piece, “Work Hard. Play Hard.”

“The piece depicts the struggle between deciding when to work and when to play,” Mahurin said. Some of her dancers will be in “work mode” while others will be in “play mode.” By the end of the piece, some will be pulled into the “play mode,” while others are simply happy with what they were doing.

“It’s pretty applicable to my life,” Mahurin said. “Finding that balance is pretty crucial to any college student’s life.”

In addition to the dance performances, the dance department, Dance Guild and Sacred Dance Group will each be sponsoring a reception following every show.

On April 17, there will be a three-hour alumni and current student reception beginning at 2 p.m. that will include a Fiesta Latina led by Dr. Anne O’Malley Castellanos and the Global Dance Forms Course as well as an alumni roundtable.

The 16-piece show will feature about an hour’s worth of actual dance and should run about an hour-and-a-half long with breaks between dances and the intermission. Deans said this show will be “a little bit more polished and a little shorter” than the last anniversary event, “Fabulous Fifteen.” 


Tickets are $5 with an Eastern identification card and $10 for general admission, with shows running at 8 p.m. on April 16 and 17 and 3 p.m. on April 18.

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