A dazzling dance with Orchesis’ fall show

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  • Orchesis performs a wide variety of dance genres including ballet, hip-hop and contemporary. The dancers above performed a tap selection called “Tapping’ into a New Dimension,” choreographed by Orchesis member Alecia Anderson.

  • The moving piece “On the Verge” showcased dancers Lindsay Amundson, Hayden Comstock and Lauren Paine. The dance was choreographed by Orchesis member Bailey Wolf to Taylor Swift’s “Tolerate It.”

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Orchesis Dance Company twirled and triumphed their way through their annual fall show on Saturday, Oct. 22.  

The stage in Russell Hall’s Bengtson Auditorium was brought to life with stunning performances choreographed almost entirely by members of the company.

The Orchesis dancers brought the audience through a journey of pieces haunting, exhilarating and even existential.  

The show opened with a toe-tapping group dance to Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5.” Later, a hip-hop piece to Cardi B’s “No Limit” brought the energy to the stage. Illuminate Dance Troupe had three guest performances, one of which showcased traditional German folk dance Kreuz Konig. 

A piece titled, “Consider the end…” had dancers performing alongside Carl Sagan’s famous speech “Pale Blue Dot,” putting a contemplative mood on the show. The piece “Vacant Chair, Heavy Hearts” expressed haunting themes of grief and loneliness. To close out the show, a piece titled “Unphased in the Shadows,” including all of the Orchesis members, showed a triumph of light over darkness and left the audience in high spirits.

Accompanied by masterfully designed lighting and creative costuming, Orchesis gave a performance filled to the brim with both talent and personality.

Orchesis Dance Company is a student organization at UNI. It was established in 1926 and is currently run under the direction of advisor Mandy Masmar. Students take on leadership roles as well, with Rachel Kuehner serving as president, Lindsay Amundson as vice president, Alecia Anderson as secretary and Lauren Paine as treasurer.

“This is my first year as president of Orchesis, so it is the first time I’ve gotten a chance to work on the ‘behind the scenes’ things within the company, and I have personally enjoyed getting to learn more about our connections within the university and the community that I have never gotten the chance to be a part of before,” Kuehner said. “I am looking forward to continuing to build these connections and challenging myself to be a good leader within the company.”

Amundson greatly cherishes the time she spends with other Orchesis members, saying “I’m looking forward to continuing to grow as a dancer and choreographer with this company. Everyone here is so special and we get a very unique opportunity to create and move together each week.”

“It is so wonderful to know that there is a whole company supporting you, and I can’t wait to keep dancing with everyone,” she said.

The company has 20 members this semester and rehearses technique for two hours every Monday and Wednesday. There are also rehearsals outside of those technique sessions where individual pieces take shape.

“We aren’t a very large company, but we are all so close, and that quick connection is what has made this year so special to me,” Amundson said. 

For the rest of this semester, Orchesis has a few more performances. On Nov. 6 they will be doing a pre-show for Ailey II dance company starting at 6:15 in the GBPAC lobby.

They will also have a guest performance in the Men’s Varsity Glee Club Christmas Variety Show on Dec. 2 at 7:30 p.m. and Dec. 3 at 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

The Orchesis feature is always a fan-favorite for attendees of the Glee Club Christmas Variety Show, and a highlight for Kuehner.

 “I am choreographing our dance with Alecia Anderson, a fellow Orchesis member who serves as one of our officers,” she said. “I am excited to create and teach a Christmas dance, it is the perfect way to get ready for the holiday season with the company!”

 In the spring, the Orchesis Annual Gala will be April 14 at 7 p.m. and April 15 at 2 p.m. at the Oster Regent Theater on Main Street.

Orchesis will be holding auditions for next semester on Dec. 7. Any and all dance experience is welcome. To keep up on future Orchesis events, auditions and fundraisers, find them on social media at UNI Orchesis Dance Company.