Dancing In the Lenfest Once More

Morgan Grabowski (mograbowski@ursinus.edu

The Ursinus College Dance Concert (UCDC) made its comeback to Lenfest theater for the first time since the pandemic hit in 2019. Produced by Dr. Karen Clemente, this showcase features five dances of distinct styles. The show was performed by UCDC dancers, along with a couple of special guests. The performers have been working hard since January to put on this showcase and bring light to subject matters that are important to them. 

   The program begins with the piece We Care. This dance was choreographed entirely by the dancers: Amira Jowers, Elizabeth Kandler, Raeann Risko, Chelsea Stitt, and Kalina Witkowska. Together, they show how each individual’s personal experience comes together to form the world we live in. We Care reminds us that we are not alone, and that there is always somebody out there who cares about us. 

   Back to You, the second dance of the concert, was choreographed and performed by visiting assistant Professor of Dance, Dana Powers-Klooster, and guest choreographer Jessica Anthony. Their piece depicts the different phases of a relationship. Powers-Klooster said that the piece can be about any relationship, and is about “those moments when we feel so connected, like we’re one person and then different phases of that same relationship where you have phases of disconnection, separation and tension.”  As the title suggests, this dance has a positive outlook on the ebb and flow of relationships. “We choose to always go back to each other,” Powers-Kluster stated. 

   Guest choreographer Clyde Evans Jr. brought his autobiography to Lenfest theater in the piece Welcome to America. Together with guest artist Virgil Gadson and the dancers of UCDC, Welcome to America first showcases the many genres of dance and cultures that Evans was introduced to upon his arrival in America from Trinidad. It then delves into his struggles with conformity and learning how to navigate his new life. The piece is hopeful, with a triumphant message of perseverance in the face of doubt. Evans praises the dancers for “rising to the occasion” and “helping to validate some of the things I’m going through by executing these actions.” He is also grateful for the opportunity to work with Gadson again, who played Evans in the stage play version of his autobiography. 

   Walk Me Through is another piece choreographed by Powers-Klooster. This dance, however, was choreographed in collaboration with the dancers in the Dance Repertory class. The class gives dancers the chance to work in conjunction with a professional choreographer. 

   The final dance of the program, It’s Only A Matter of Time, choreographed by Jenn Rose, depicts the passage of time, and how many people feel like they just need more time. Clemente, showing her dedication to this concert, stepped, or more appropriately, tapped into this dance for a dancer who was out sick. She began learning the dance on Tuesday, and was ready to perform on Thursday for opening night. 

   Clemente and the dancers are happy to be back on stage after two years of COVID-19. Many of the dancers claim it feels “wonderful” to be performing for a live audience again. Clemente also wants to give a special thanks to the production team and student crew for their work and support throughout the entire process of the show.