MCLA Dance Company Prepares a Diverse Performance for the Mass MoCA Stage


NORTH ADAMS, MA-For the past few years, the MCLA Dance Company has been featured on the MASS MoCA stage every Spring. This year, the Company will showcase their works in lyrical, ballet, modern, Broadway, tap, hip-hop, belly dancing, and some swing.

The students of the Company have worked together for the past four months to create a show that not only they would be proud of, but one that everyone would enjoy, according to Jamal Ahamad, a member of the dance company.

Student choreographers studied both music and movement to create a comprehensive bond between beats, rhythms and their own bodies. Some dances present a deep and compelling story about love and heartbreak while others are simply just for fun or the joy of performing, Ahamad said.

One student choreographer, Megan Blocker, has high hopes for her belly dance piece.

"I'm so excited to have my piece in the show," Blocker said. "I have worked really hard all last semester with my group of my girls to present something new, fresh, and original."

MCLA Dance Company is a fully student-run club that has developed a large mass of followers of both participants and audience members. Some dancers, such as Jacqui Panasian, have been active members since their very first semester at MCLA. Displaying skill, technique, and passion, Panasian also is excited for the show considering that she is a first time choreographer.

 "I have been a member of Dance Company all throughout my time at MCLA," Panasian said. "Come this April, I will finally be presenting a piece of my own. I sat back... watched, learned, and studied from others and I just feel that now is the perfect time to show what I can add to the Company."

Panasian's piece introduces the Bob Fosse style to the collection of MCLA Dance Company genres which has most recently included the additions of West African and Bollywood.

In recent years, the Company has seen a rise in skill level not only in individual dancers, but the choreographers.

Kayla Hollins and Amanda Schuler combined their artistic knowledge and vision to create a story of love. A sequel to a piece presented by Hollins from this past fall's show at MCLA's very own Venable Theater stage, it casts two returning freshmen dancers, Rebecca McCauley and Paul J. Miranda, as the leads of a heartwarming love story. Choreographing and directing an impressive fusion of both ballet and hip-hop, the other dancers on the stage act as narrators for the audience so that they may successfully follow the story without missing a beat.

At the start of the semester, Hollins said, "You can never have too many love story dances."

MCLA Dance Company promotes dance as a serious performing art form for the MCLA Community. As the largest club on the MCLA campus, the Company serves to both teach and perform various genres of dance at MCLA while it promotes student involvement and campus activity. Students not only learn from one another by participating, but help to create a lasting bond and a community amongst each other.