Winter dance concert leaves audience with chills

Written By Dannys Marrero

The Winter Dance Concert had its opening night Friday, December 1 and it’s featuring powerful, action-packed performances by many Point Park dancers at the Pittsburgh Playhouse.

The event, which runs from Dec.1-10 showcases four different dance routines, FIRST and CHAIRMAN DANCE in Act I, along with COLD VIRTUES and MAESTRO in Act II; each having an average of 12 different dancers in the piece.

This year, the choreographers were Lucinda Childs, John Heginbotham, Adam Hougland and Garfield Lemonius.

The process to piece this production together started with auditions in mid-September, in which each choreographer selected two different casts that would perform the same routine at two different showtimes during the concert’s two-week tenure.

Once the casts were picked, the process continued with paperwork, costume fittings, and continuous weeks of rehearsals.

Jordan Willis, junior dance major with concentration in modern dance, is a cast member in the piece MAESTRO.

“We would practice 5 days per week throughout multiple weeks.” Willis said.

After more than a month of rehearsals, the performers came together for the first time just two weeks prior to the scheduled show during tech rehearsals, which according to Princess Winder, sophomore theater production design major and assistant stage manager for the Winter Dance Concert, felt like the hardest step of the entire process.

“Undeniably, the first few days of tech [rehearsal] were the hardest,” Winder said “because you’re starting to combine all the different parts and have to constantly keep changing some stuff and adjusting to make sure the entire show will look good.”

Winder oversees the deck crew personnel which consist of about ten students, however head stage manager for the Winter Dance Concert is Walter Hennerfeind, a senior theater production design major, who also shared Winder’s feelings towards tech rehearsal but also enjoys the job and the opportunities it provides.

“The best part about all this would have to be learning how to work with the different art forms,” Hennerfeind said “It may be hard at first, but once you see the final product, it’s such an amazing feeling.”

The Winter Dance Concert’s opening weekend was greeted with a large turnout with over 200 people attending.

Two of attendees were Patricia Sheahan, professor at Duquesne University, along with her husband, who preferred to be referred to as Mr. Sheahan.

The Pittsburgh natives have been following Point Park shows for more than 20 years.

“My husband and I are long time followers of Point Park,” Sheahan said “they have the best shows in town. Every show we go to feels like it belongs in Broadway. All of the dancers tonight were so powerful. So mesmerizing. So inspirational. But what I love the most about Point Park is that it gives every body-type the chance to dance, as long as they have the talent.”

Junior musical theater major William Bureau also attended the Winter Dance Concert and expressed his belief that the show was one of the best he’s come to during his time at Point Park.

“It was breathtaking,” Bureau said “the combination of lights, music and dancing was just incredible.”

The Winter Dance Concert will have one last round of shows at 8 p.m. on Dec. 8-9 as well as 2 p.m. on Dec.9-10 at the Rockwell Theater in the Pittsburgh Playhouse.