On Nov. 17, Macalester dancers will perform their last performance on the Theater Building Mainstage.
Ghost Light features pieces by student choreographers Midori Hasegawa ’19, Shaylene McCue ’18, Yuri Smith ’18, Arnold Sanginga ’19 and Meghan Johnson ’18.
“Dance is something I’ve held with me my whole life; I love it,” McCue said. “I haven’t gotten to actually be on the creating end of it until I arrived at Macalester.”
McCue is one of six student choreographers setting pieces for the Fall Dance Concert. She is choreographing a contemporary ballet for six women that was inspired by her capstone project last year on dance and the brain. “As someone who has been a performer and who has learned choreography for a very long time, it’s almost a completion of the circle to be on the creative end of things,” McCue said. Trina Hofrenning ’21, who was cast in McCue’s piece, is glad to be a part of the creative process alongside McCue. “[McCue’s] choreography is based on her scientific study about the role of dance training in aesthetic preference and attention,” Hofrenning said. “The movement has been so fulfilling to be a part of. I like that the movement flows and is balletic—because I trained in ballet growing up—but at the same time [it] has a modern quality of movement.”
Hofrenning said the experience she has had participating in a Mac dance concert has convinced her to participate again in the future. “I think that performance experience and the process of perfecting a work is so important in one’s growth as a dancer,” said Hofrenning. “I also am enjoying the opportunity to learn from my peers.”
In the casting process, some Macalester dancers were chosen for student-choreographed pieces. Those dancers worked closely with their peers throughout the semester in preparation for Ghost Light. Those cast in one of the four faculty-choreographed pieces had the opportunity to work with faculty members Patricia Brown, Krista Langberg, Brian Evans or Wynn Fricke.
Mary Mailand ’19, a student at Macalester and St. Thomas through the Associated Colleges of the Twin Cities program, was cast in director Wynn Fricke’s modern piece.
“I was surprised about the amount of improvisation that was required on our part, which is really cool,” Mailand said. “[Fricke] has an overall vision, but we get to participate in the creation of the dance.”
From Fricke’s piece, Mailand has learned to let go of her longing for perfection, which she believes other dancers struggle with as well. “I have found that, in dance, you have to be patient and forgiving with yourself because all improvements take time to be cultivated,” she said.
Jill Lile, Senior Instructor of Dance at Macalester, believes the dance concerts are a unifying force of creativity that provide opportunities for growth in every dancer. Lile choreographs for the fall dance concert every other year. She is not choreographing this semester because she teaches an extra academic class, but she is still excited to see these dancers’ final product. “I’m really proud of the students,” Lile said. “They’ve worked hard, and I love to see the innovation that they come up with … all of [the] different ways of moving their bodies.”
“You probably know somebody in it,” McCue said. “It’s just going to be a really fun night.” The fall dance concert opens on Nov. 17 at 7:30 p.m. and there are performances on Nov. 18 at 2:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m.
by Margaret Straw