The Florida Southern Dance Program’s “Fall Into Dance 2019” performance was held on Saturday, Nov. 9 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 10 at 2 p.m.
The night promised varying styles of dance that include ballet, as well as contemporary modern dance performed by FSC dancers. The annual performance was under the direction of Erin LaSala, and featured works from FSC staff, as well as guest artists.
LaSala is the Associate Professor of Dance for FSC, and received her B.S. in Dance Education from the University of South Florida, and her M.F.A. in Dance Choreography from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She has experience as a professional dancer, a free-lance performer and choreographer, and held positions such as Dance Education Coordinator at Kent State University.
Event preparation began in August, LaSala explains, since dancers auditioned at that time for Faculty and guest artists.
“After the casts were chosen they attend 1-2 weekly rehearsals, roughly 3 hours per week where the choreography was created and set,” LaSala said. “The choreographers also work with the dancers on the performance qualities needed for each dance during rehearsals.”
Each piece performed was unique due to its own style and content, and this variation was due to the different choreographers and the liberty they had.
“Each choreographer chooses the topic of their work,” LaSala said. “No limitation is put on their creativity.”
Gregory Dolbashian choreographed a piece called “Big Mood” that entailed the ensemble playing with isolated movements. He was also a guest choreographer invited by LaSala to teach students.
“Each semester I invite a guest choreographer who I feel the students will learn something ‘extra’ from and perhaps become inspired from,” LaSala said. “This decision is based on the current students and what style I feel will best suit them.”
Sophomore dance and film major Sydney Rivera believes the incorporation of new choreographers provides an opportunity to grow.
“Every choreographer that I’ve worked with teaches differently, so as a dancer, it’s important to be flexible in the way that you pick up choreography,” Rivera said.
LaSala’s creative process involved collaboration with the dancers themselves. After choosing the dancers, LaSala will begin this process by choosing a few songs to pull from and then choose which one works best for performance. From there she begins to shape her ideas and utilize dancer input.
“I worked collaboratively with the dancers to manipulate movement to match my idea for the work. I sometimes give them verbal prompts and ask them to improvise from them,” LaSala said.
One of Rivera’s favorite parts about this year’s Fall Into Dance was the opportunity to connect with several different people.
“What I love about this program is that it gives all the dancers opportunities to perform which means that you always get to dance with new people,” Rivera said. “I got to spend time with several people that I didn’t know before this year and I enjoyed working with all of them.”
Rivera expresses that getting the chance to work with other talented dancers in the program motivates her to develop her ability as a dancer.
“From this performance I’ve learned the importance of embracing one’s personal style as they dance,” Rivera said.
The next dance performances are the Emerging Artists Choreography Showcase that will be held Saturday, Dec. 7 in Buckner Theatre, as well as the FSC Dance Spring Showcase titled Synergy Preview on Mar. 27 and two performances on the 28 and 29.