Morgan Grabowski, email@example.com
Organizations all across campus have had to come up with creative ways to continue their activities amidst the pandemic. From clubs to sports teams, the Ursinus community is continuously innovating in order to maintain a sense of normalcy. One such organization is the Ursinus College Dance Company, or UCDC for short. Much like the theater department, which broadcast radio plays over the past weekend, the UCDC is treating the COVID-19 regulations as an opportunity to create art in a new way. Instead of holding a live performance, the UCDC will be broadcasting a pre-recorded show on the side of the Kaleidoscope in what Professor Jeanine McCain refers to as “a truly hybrid collaborative experience.” The name of the performance is #ucdcboxcollective and Professor McCain believes that it will reach the community through its representation of current events.
Despite the excitement about trying something new, the senior members of the UCDC have had to cope with the drastic changes to their last year dancing for the school. Senior Jacqlyn Hennigan speaks fondly of her time at UCDC: “[The] UCDC has given me a ton of opportunities. I’ve gotten the chance to work with choreographers from all over the country and I’m so grateful for everything that I’ve learned from them.” She also brings up the impact COVID has had on the company: “Due to capacity limitations, both of our dance studios on campus have been turned into classrooms, so dancers cannot use them, and we have to dance outside.” Her fellow senior and UCDC member Kevin Harris also laments lost opportunities, saying; “COVID put a stop to an idea I had for a UCDC student piece. I wanted to create something that is relevant and speaks to the things we are currently experiencing in 2020.” Despite missing out on a solo piece, Harris is still excited about the broadcast performance. “The students, including myself, were given a chance to fully explore our bodies and find ways to manipulate our movement vocabulary while having the physical limitation of using one specific prop for the entire performance.” Both of the seniors are grateful for the time they have spent on the UCDC and the creative opportunities this piece has given them.
The #ucdcboxcollective is a different type of piece than those the UCDC is used to performing for a multitude of reasons. The first that comes to mind is the virtual aspect. The UCDC is still performing in front of an audience — a socially distanced one — but instead of a live performance, it will be a prerecorded one. Each student will have their own solo piece, which, as Professor McCain says; “were created as individual expressions by the dancers, reflecting a true investigation of each dancer’s personal journey.” The dancers are using cardboard boxes to reflect the shift to online learning and working that has taken over 2020. The clips of each dancer were filmed by students in Professor Lynne Edwards’ video production class. Filming was directed by former visiting assistant professor and guest artist, Bailey Anderson, and the clips were edited by Professor McCain. The dancers and all of those involved hope that the piece will connect with the audience and help boost the community’s spirits.
#ucdcboxcollective will be broadcast on the side of the Kaleidoscope Performing Arts Center on Thursday, November 19th starting from when it gets dark, which will be around 5:30 PM, and running on loop until 10:00 PM. The performance will also be available on Friday November 20th at www.ursinus.edu/live-on-main/main-stage. The Ursinus College Dance Company has worked hard to bring the community this special installation, using art to reflect the time and feelings we all share. They look forward to the broadcast and a great turnout!