The acclaimed work “The Will/Memory” will be among the original pieces performed by student choreographers and dancers during this year’s Spring Student Dance Showcase at Hope College.
The concerts will take place on Friday, April 20, in the Dow Center 207 studio and on Saturday, April 21, at the Knickerbocker Theatre, at 6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. both evenings. “The Will/Memory,” which won recognition during the March regional conference of the American College Dance Festival, will be featured during the Saturday, April 21, concerts.
The public is invited. Admission is free.
The full showcase will include tap, hip hop, jazz and contemporary, with different pieces and presenters each day. A total of 16 dances will be presented by multiple students from the Department of Dance and across campus, including students in Professor Steven Iannacone’s Composition I class and the college’s Hip Hop Anonymous club. Iannacone and faculty colleague Angela Yetzke serve as advisers, mentors and producers of the Student Dance Showcase.
"The Will/Memory,” choreographed and performed by seniors Emily Mejicano-Gormley and Nia Stringfellow, was one of only 11 pieces chosen to be performed during the regional ACDA festival’s Gala Concert out of a highly competitive field that included works from large universities by professional choreographers. It was also named the conference’s second alternate for the June 6-9 national ACDA National College Dance Festival.
The work was originally created as two separate solos presented during the Spring 2017 Student Dance Showcases. Mejicano-Gormley’s “Memory” and Stringfellow’s “The Will” were artistically merged over the last few months under mentorship by dance department chair Matthew Farmer. Mejiano-Gormley and Stringfellow, along with three other dance students and faculty member Linda Graham, then traveled to the University of Illinois for the regional ACDA festival.
The three professional ACDA adjudicators described Stringfellow and Mejicano-Gormley’s choreography and performance as “deeply moving.” Their review of the work described “The Will/Memory” as “a platform to consider our country’s history of racial bifurcation in deeply personal, moving terms. Its simplicity in design allows us to ruminate on complex themes.” The adjudicators added “The dancers represent a negotiation, standing emblematic to their truths... working at multiple layers, slicing and etching with heart-wrenching pain… This piece.... makes space with dignity and empathy for the tensions of race.”
The Dow Center is located at 168 E. 13th St., on the corner of 13th Street and Columbia Avenue. The Knickerbocker Theater is located at 86 E. Eighth St., between College and Columbia avenues.