ACTIVATE: Kicking off the dance department’s 2018-2019 season

By Laura Raccuglia

Staff Writer

The DeSales Dance department is hard at work on their upcoming yearly projects, and one of them, to kick off the Act 1 dance season, is the Emerging Choreographers Concert, better known as the ECC.

The theme of the concert this year is ACTIVATE. Just like all of the other ECCs, the title is a verb. In the previous years, the ECC themes were called IGNITE, ELEVATE, AMPLIFY and so on. The idea behind ACTIVATE is for all of the dances to portray the beauty of human physical movement and actions.

The choreographers, junior Maria Murray and seniors Ciara Marie Alford, William Brazdzionis, Caeleigh Griffiths, and Krysten Struk, held auditions early in the fall semester for the Dance majors to attend. They selected their casts and began rehearsals which occurred twice a week for each choreographer.

Being involved in a dance showcase is just like any other performance throughout the Performing Arts Division at DeSales. All students who are not casted are required to be on crew for the showcase, with some working backstage and others assigned to lights and soundboard.

The idea behind this is to prove that the work backstage and behind the scenes is just as important as the work the performers are doing.

Angela Sigley Grossman, the Artistic Director of the Dance department, plays a vital role in the process of bringing it all together.

She not only guides her student choreographers throughout the growth of the showcase, but she spoke about how she also works “to support the choreographers’ vision while at the same time ensuring that the concert possesses the integrity and professionalism that our patrons expect from the Division of Performing Arts.”

Grossman is honored to be working with such a wonderful group of students as they pave their way towards being successful. She is excited that the students are enthusiastic about putting their show together, and loves the fact that the dancers and choreographers get to work together and are excited about being onstage with one another.

Another thing that Grossman is happy about is that the ECC is studentorganized. Many of the students working behind the scenes are theatre majors, such as the stage manager, Lindsey Mitchell, and her lighting designers, who are design technology majors.

“One very vital role for the ECC concert is that of the student manager, who is Lindsey Mitchell this year. She is the link between the production faculty/staff and the students, and she does a ton of administrative work for the show. I rely on my student manager to keep operations and communication running smoothly and Lindsey’s work is often unseen to the outside eye, but incredibly important,” Grossman explains.

An important aspect of the shows is that they are mainly worked on by the students. The staff members will help out along the way, but, again, the philosophy at DeSales is that everyone working backstage are just as useful and educated as the performers.

Being part of a showcase like this is not only an impressive thing to put on a resume, but it can also be rewarding and enjoyable. The DeSales Dance department’s Emerging Choreographers Concert is organized entirely by its students. Photo courtesy of

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