A group of Dean College dancers on stage during a performance

Friday, December 6 is opening night for the New Dancers Showcase, an informal showing of dance works created by upperclassmen and performed by first-year dance majors. We spoke to Leslie F. ’20 and Rachael H. ’23 about their roles in the performance. 

Q: Rachael, what has your experience been as a first-year dancer in this program?

Rachael ‘23: I have had nothing but an amazing experience since the start. Following the auditions, where we got placed into pieces that we will be performing at New Dancers Showcase, I was so excited to get started with rehearsals. Through the process of working with my student choreographers I have learned so much about not only what goes into choreographing a piece, but also all of the experiences that are available to dance majors at Dean. This opportunity has allowed me to make so many new friends and connect with many people that I may not have gotten to know if it wasn't for this program.

Q: Leslie, were you a performer in the show when you were a first-year student? If so, how has your perspective changed now that you are a choreographer?

Leslie ’20: As a first-year student, I was cast in two brilliant contemporary pieces. Now that I am a choreographer, I have found that I do things a bit differently. My environment is warm and respectful, and my style is contemporary jazz. I stick to my aesthetic with every movement I create and am inspired by the dancers’ individuality.

Q: Do you enjoy the collaboration between first-year students and upperclassmen?

Rachael ‘23: Collaborating with upperclassmen has played a significant role in my transition from high school to college. When I first came to Dean, I was very anxious and intimidated about being in class with the upperclassmen, however I soon realized that they were once in my shoes and they understand what I am going through. Getting to work in a personal setting with upperclassmen has broken down barriers and immediately made me feel like I belong. Within rehearsal I have learned how to adapt to the different styles and creative processes of my choreographers, and they have worked to make this transition as easy as possible.

Leslie ’20: I LOVE working with the first-year students! I feel as though I am passing down my legacy through them. The first thing I teach them is that kindness will get you places and that I would rather work with genuinely nice people rather than disrespectful amazing dancers. This is my second-year choreographing for the New Dancers Showcase and each dancer I have worked with is kindhearted and respectful.  

Q: What are you most excited for the audience to see?

Rachael ‘23: I am most excited for the audience to see the hard work that all of us first-year students have put into our pieces. From rehearsing on the weekends, to late nights, the collaboration has truly been a team effort. I am excited for my friends and family to see how much work has gone into this show and for them to see how I have progressed as a dancer. I cannot wait to perform in New Dancers Showcase and bring my choreographers’ amazing concepts to life. 

Leslie ‘20: I am very true to who I am as an artist and my choreography shows that. I am very excited for the audience to see my contemporary punk rock piece! The show is full of creative choreographers and great dancers who want to and are excited to dance. This is going to be a fantastic show!