UCDC: Motion, Timbre, & Rhythm

Image sourced from: https://www.ursinus.edu/academics/theater-and-dance/ucdc-behind-the-scenes/

Article by Amelia Kunko <amkunko@ursinus.edu>

UCDC’s upcoming fall concert, Motion, Timbre, & Rhythm, is quickly approaching! The dancers have put a tremendous amount of time and effort into preparing for the show, which will be running November 16th, 17th, and 18th in the Kaleidoscope’s Lenfest Theater. “We’ve been rehearsing for quite some time and the performances will provide an opportunity for each student to apply what they’ve been learning from faculty, our special guest artists, and from their peers,” says Michael J. Love, Assistant Professor of Dance. 

For this show and all UCDC concerts, there is a huge amount of preparation that goes into putting on a great performance. “Preparing for a UCDC concert means that students and choreographers (and, of course, some student choreographers) spend many, many hours in the studio, engaged in what we might call performance-based research or embodied research,” says Professor Love. “They are reading, listening, and using movement and rhythm to think through ideas. Each piece deals directly with a larger concept, theme, or phenomenon.” 

This work begins at the very start of the semester. “The process of preparing for UCDC shows includes weekly rehearsals that start during the first week of classes, and then a whole technical/dress rehearsal week that leads right up to the opening night of the show,” says Molly Sherman ’24. “Each weekly rehearsal is about 2 hours a week, and tech week starts about 5 days before the first show night. During that week, we solidify spacing on the stage, we practice and perform the show many times, and we perfect the lighting for each piece so the performance is ready for opening night!”

The time spent putting together each concert gives those in UCDC the chance to bond over their hard work. “During tech week the entire cast gets to spend so much time with each other. This not only gets us excited about the performance, but it makes us all closer as friends,” says Gabby Price ’25. “Another aspect of tech week that is so inspirational is seeing each dance come to life on stage.”

  UCDC concerts give dancers the opportunity to put their talents to work and choreograph their own pieces. “I am most looking forward to performing the work I have created and learned throughout the semester,” says Sherman. “I have had the amazing opportunity to be able to choreograph a senior piece for UCDC this semester and I was able to express my creativity through the choreography I created while allowing my amazing dancers to also express themselves through this form of art.” Sherman also notes that the work she has witnessed by other dancers has inspired her own work. “I am also very excited I got to branch out of my comfort zone and learn from a guest choreographer, Manny Chacon, and be a part of his amazing piece,” says Sherman.

  Overall, the preparation for Motion, Timbre, & Rhythm has been a valuable way for the dancers to come together and create something they are passionate about. “This show is filled with live music, an undeniable sense of community, and dancers and choreographers putting their hearts on the stage,” Price says.

  Motion, Timbre, & Rhythm will be a culmination of several significant forms of dance. “Those who join us in the Lenfest will be able to see the ways the Department and the academic program in Dance is working to honor, celebrate, and advance the study and practice of Afro-diasporic forms such as rhythm tap, rooted vernacular jazz, Umfundalai, and step/body percussion,” Professor Love says. “Some of the works will also reference forms such as voguing and waacking.”Not only will audiences be able to witness the dancers’ work, but they will also have the opportunity to hear about the process of putting together Motion, Timbre, & Rhythm from the dancers themselves. “On Opening Night, Thursday 11/16, there will be a talkback immediately following the performance,” Professor Love says. “We invite all who attend the concert to stay and hear each choreographer and designer talk about the process of bringing the concert to fruition!” If you would like to attend the concert on November 16th, 17th, or 18th, visit https://ursinus.ticketleap.com/motion-timbre-rhythm/ to purchase tickets. Congratulations and good luck to all those involved in Motion, Timbre, & Rhythm. We can’t wait to see the show!