Percentages are typically dealt with in a statistics class. But for the Towson University Dance Company, percentages are something they’ve become accustomed to.
50 percent ballet.
50 percent modern.
100 percent effort.
The dance company will showcase their efforts in the “Fusion” show in the Stephens Hall Theatre beginning Saturday, Dec. 1.
“Fusion,” which the company has been working on since September, includes a piece by contemporary artistic director and lecturer in the Department of Dance Runqiao Du called “Syncopated Souls” as well as the second act of a 19th-century classical ballet called “Paquita.”
“This performance is called ‘Fusion’ because in our department the curriculum is 50/50… I always want to have a production that represents the curriculum well,” Du said.
The Towson Dance Company is composed of 23 members. Because of the competitive nature of the Company, there are two additional casts so that more of the dancers can have an opportunity to have solos sections during the performance, Du said. For “Paquita,” there is two lead girls and boys who learn the dance.
“We have four boys in the production which is really great, I am really happy to see that because otherwise this kind of ballet could never happen without a male presence,” Du said.
The dance company is also a class, taught by Du in the fall, and assistant professor in the Department of Dance Linda-Denise Fisher-Harrell in the spring. Each semester, students who wish to take part in the class must first audition.
However, before the semester even begins, dancers must plan their classes, jobs and other extra curricular activities around the practice and performance schedules of the company. For the dancers, the lifestyle is similar to that of a dancer in a professional company.
“We created this course in the environment of a real professional dance company so our students can experience a ‘flight-simulated’ kind of situation,” Du said.
Senior dance performance major Maggie Kudirka said that being in the company is a big commitment.
This is her fourth semester dancing in the company and considers them family.
She said she enjoys performing with them and feels bittersweet that this is her last fall semester.
“One thing I have gotten out of being a part of the company is performance experience. I am building my repertoire and expanding my dance vocabulary. Over the years I have gotten stronger just because of the company, because they push you to become better,” Kudirka said.
Kudirka said she has been dancing all her life and has extensive training.
However, what Du believes is unique to the company is that anyone, not only dance majors, is welcome to audition.
Du said that many dancers are non-dance majors who can have the opportunity to build their knowledge and skill of dance even if it is not their main focus in school.
“Our goal is to train their physical body as well as their mind, we do not just teach them how to dance, we also teach them the thinking process,” Du said. “They have to understand the dance from both a psychological point of view and from an educational point of view.”