Panther Portrait: Orchesis & IDT Show

EMMA'LE MAAS, Executive Editor

The UNI Dance Program kicked off Family Weekend festivities with its annual fall showcase on Friday, Oct. 18, with an additional performance on Sunday, Oct. 20.

Sister dance companies Orchesis and International Dance Theatre (IDT) performed in Russell Hall’s Bengtson Auditorium, showcasing several dance styles ranging from tap and hip-hop to traditional Russian folk dance.

The evening began with an interpretive piece by Mandy Masmar, the dance faculty instructor for both groups. The piece, titled “Why can’t I color outside the lines?” featured the entire Orchesis Dance Company dancing with chairs to a mashup of the song “Mad World” by Evergreen Terrace and Michael Andrews. 

The majority of the dances featured were choreographed by company members themselves, such as the relaxed contemporary piece “Intertwined” by Teresa Feldman, junior chemistry major and vice president of Orchesis, and the lively musical theatre piece “Ready to be Found” by sophomore English major and IDT Vice President Erin Kamp.

A crowd favorite of the evening was the jazz piece “Too Good” by junior early childhood education major Kelsey Wulf, which featured ten performers from Orchesis. 

Another favorite was the piece “Playing in the Streets” by Orchesis alumni Emily Bittner. The hip hop performance featured six dancers from Orchesis and music by Queen that was mashed up with a trap mix. 

A total of 22 pieces were showcased. The closing number was a traditional tango piece choreographed by Masmar and performed by the entire IDT Dance Company. 

Both companies have provided a home and community for its members.

“My favorite part of Orchesis is the family I’ve developed with the other girls,” said Hannah McGourty, a sophomore majoring in leisure youth and human services. “I have someone to come to with any problem — dance or not dance-related.”

Abby Pickard was a member of IDT during her undergraduate career and returned this semester as a speech-language pathology graduate student.

“[My favorite part] is learning about different cultures through dance outside of the U.S.,” she said.

Both companies are accredited courses as well as student organizations, and students who participate are able to receive an elective course credit from the class. Orchesis focuses mainly on studio styles such as ballet, contemporary and jazz, while IDT ranges from ballroom and folk styles as well as some studio dance.

Both Orchesis and IDT are welcoming new members for the spring semester. Orchesis will be holding auditions at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 13 in Room 185 of the Wellness and Recreation Center. IDT does not require an audition or any previous dance experience.

Those seeking more information can contact Mandy Masmar at [email protected]