By Michelle Joline
Arts & Life Editor
If you have ever ventured down the daunting steps that lead to the Gateway Residence Center and the Susquehanna River, you have probably heard muffled classical and jazz-inspired music coming from what was once the girls’ gym at the University, now known as Tustin Studio Theatre. Many students are not even aware of this building’s existence, but some of Bucknell’s most inspired, talented and creative students can be found working on their projects there. Tustin Studio Theatre is where the Bucknell Dance Company rehearses, and where seven seniors are part of a company of trained dancers and became a quirky group of close friends.
This past week the Bucknell Dance Company’s seniors and I sat on the floor of the Student Space in the Elaine Langone Center to talk about dance, friendship and their upcoming performance, which is expected to be the company’s best thus far. Katelyn Tsukada, Mikaela Soto, Kourtney Ginn, Elizabeth Burdick, Melissa Leonard, Adrienne Vischio and the one token male in the Company, Daniel Maskas, known by his peers as, “The Don,” make up this year’s senior class. They describe themselves as an unlikely group of friends. Yet, after long Sunday night rehearsals and many inside jokes, they have formed a family for themselves. In a refreshingly open and warm fashion, they all lit up when boasting about their fellow dancers and expressed true pride in each other’s individual accomplishments. The support system within the group’s members is apparent in their dancing and ability to coordinate with each other. They all have different styles of dance, with some preferring ballet, jazz or tap–but it is the combination of their strengths that enhances their ability to create and perform unique and complex works.
The seniors are anxiously waiting to perform their own senior piece, and remembered how emotional and inspiring the senior performance was when they were first-years. This year, associate professor of dance Er-dong Hu will choreograph the piece that the seven seniors will dance this spring. The piece is expected to mold the group’s varying styles into one cohesive and emotional statement and will serve as the final chapter in the seniors’ careers in The Bucknell Dance Company, an experience that the group describes as incredible. The Bucknell Dance Company is “definitely the best part of my Bucknell experience–hands down,” Soto said.
Those not involved with the Bucknell Dance Company, including myself, have to be a bit jealous. A sense of support and family is what everyone would like to find on a college campus, and this tight-knit group of dancers has created such a community for themselves. This eclectic, talented and warm group of friends are fortunate to have fostered these relationships, and I would be very surprised if they did not continue to communicate and provide each other support after graduation. Behind all the jokes that flew back and forth during my short conversation with this group is a real, honest friendship that will be exciting to see translated into dance during their senior performance this spring.
You do not have much longer to see these talented dancers perform along with the rest of the Bucknell Dance Company. They will perform under the direction of Kelly Knox at 8 p.m. on Dec. 4 and 5 in the Harvey M. Powers Theatre in Coleman Hall.