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UNH dance company puts on annual concert

By FATIMA JABER, Contributing Writer

The Johnson Theatre was a hotspot for many last Wednesday through Saturday. The Dance Company Concert took place every evening at 7 p.m., with an additional 2 p.m. performance on Saturday.

The theatre filled up with students, faculty and proud friends and family members of the dancers, as they were getting ready for show time backstage. As the curtains unveiled, the audience got a performance that kept them entertained throughout the two-hour event.

“Don Quixote” and “Rainforest” were both performed during Dance Company Concert, both very different but equally engaging. The talented dancers’ hard work showed throughout the concert.

“The amount of rehearsals we had was definitely a hardship,” said Ellouise McGonagle, a junior dancer. “We practiced every day for a lot of hours. We were prepared so I wasn’t really nervous.”

McGonagle played the role of human, butterfly and bird in “Rainforest,” and a seguidilla in “Don Quixote.”

“We worked a lot on being able to understand our characters and tell the story with just our bodies,” McGonagle said.

Assaf Benchetrit, a professor of ballet at UNH, choreographed the well-known performance of “Don Quixote.” The Ballet Company told the famous Spanish story through their dance moves, costumes and props.

“I always pay attention to clothes so I was impressed by all the costumes that stood out to me a lot,” said Abigail Holmes, a UNH freshman and audience member. “The costumes really worked well with the theme.”

Besides the extravagant, traditional Spanish-themed attire, the dancers kept the audience entertained through their spunky dance moves and body language. At some points, the audience was seen at the edge of their seats, laughing as a dancer was thrown several feet up into the air and caught by the other dancers, multiple times.

Later transitioning from two totally different themed shows was an adjustment for both the performers and the audience.

“Rainforest”, performed by the Jazz/Tap/Aerial (JTA), was choreographed by Gay Nardone. The show opened up with three drummers on stage, dressed in a rainforest theme. Dancers poured out and gave the audience an act to remember with their daring and talented moves and exotic background.

Performers danced together but many solos took place, which gave off a kind of dance-off vibe at one point, with each soloist showing off their own dance moves.

At another point, acrobatic moves were performed with dancers up in the air on ropes. Astonished faces were seen and gasps were heard from audience members as the performers flew through the air.

“The acrobatic work was absolutely stunning,” said sophomore and audience member Molly Lenahan, “and I think everyone within the audience was breathless at points. It was inspiring to see strong and powerful dancers risk a potential injury due to the fact that they are so passionate about the arts.”

At the end of the Dance Company Concert, the audience was booming with cheers and clapping. The dancers came back onstage still full of energy and smiles as they took a bow and the curtains closed.

Their hard work wasn’t over after the first night, however, with three more days left of performances.

“We definitely fall into a routine as the shows go on,” McGonagle said. “I have a lot of fun performing.”

Since September, the performers have been rehearsing for an unforgettable performance that proved to be a total success in this year’s Dance Company Concert performance.

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