Dance International 2015

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By Kenny Nunez

You could cut the silence with a knife backstage as the dancers warmed up for what was to be their biggest performance of the semester. It was the first night of the Dance International festival at Lehman College and the dancers had been preparing for almost two months.

Organized by Amy Larimer, assistant professor and director of the Theatre and Dance program, the festival invited six choreographers to showcase their work in various dance genres: tango, Afro-Caribbean, Butoh, Irish step dancing, and salsa.

Opening night the dancers were nervous and ready to put on a great show. On stage, Lighting Designer Miriam Nilofa Crowe was checking all of the lights, while the crew prepared the stage.

Backstage, costume designer Natalie Loveland was putting the finishing touches on some of West Side story inspired ensembles. Dancers were rehearsing, while others were stretching in a separate room. “We’ve been rehearsing every week since September, and finally the day has come,” said one of the dancers, Manuela Diaz as she stretched her legs. “It’s go time. There is no turning back!”

The production stage manger, Amanda Beckett walked around backstage yelling, “This is your 15-minute call!” The performers responded back “Thank you, 15!” Many began to run to their dressing rooms to adjust their costumes and to finish putting on make up.

“Places for the top of the show!”

Images (c) Steven Schreiber

The performers gathered in a circle, held hands, and bowed their heads in prayer and reflection. Positive energy was all around and everyone waited for their turn to take the stage. After the show, the performers were pumped. “The energy from the audience was incredible,” said one of the dancers. “By the way, did you see my mom dancing in the front row?”

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