On Feb. 29 in the Lambert Recital Hall of the Clayton Center for the Arts, the Maryville College Dance Ensemble performed their spring showcase with the theme “Better Together.”
The show featured many popular songs, including “Lady Marmalade,” “I Don’t Mind,” and “Shallow.” Every performance was choreographed by various student members of the group or guest choreographers who are otherwise involved with Dance Ensemble, such as the Dance Ensemble faculty supervisor, Lisa Howard. She works as an admissions counselor on campus and is a formally trained dancer herself.
Since the spring of 2007, the Maryville College Dance Ensemble has provided an outlet for many students to showcase their love and interest in the art of dance. All students are welcome to try out for dance ensemble, even if they’ve had little to no dance experience.
“I joined dance ensemble because I loved to dance but didn’t have much experience doing it,” said senior and dance captain Bailee Burleson. “It was the perfect way to foster my love for dance, as well as do something fun. It was also the perfect first step to getting involved on campus because I got to choose how often I practiced.”
This spring show was a bittersweet one, as the group said goodbye to seniors Savannah Mantooth, Allison Parton, Serenity Shalander, and Bailee Burleson, who will all be graduating in May. Just before the final dance, dance ensemble officers Molly-Ann Puckett and Alli-Grace Gilstrap welcomed the four seniors onstage to gift them flowers and letters from other members of the group.
The members of the dance ensemble prepare backstage.
Photo courtesy of Katie Conner.
“Being in Dance Ensemble has taught me that you don’t have to have years of technical training to do something and that you can easily learn a new skill when you have the passion and a lot of fun doing it,” said Burleson, who participated in Dance Ensemble for seven semesters. “It has also taught me valuable lifelong skills such as communication, leadership, time management, and organization.”
The Maryville College Dance Ensemble has birthed many friendships in its 13 years of existence and has helped to shape many students’ Maryville College experience.
“Dance Ensemble gave me joy,” Shalander said. “I love going to practice and forgetting about work and school and my social life. I love the choreographers and their different styles, as well as the workout that they provide. I also enjoy choreographing and teaching my dances to the girls, hearing their opinions, and seeing them succeed.”
The seniors of Dance Ensemble are thankful for the bonds made, lessons learned, and happiness shared from the experience. When asked to give a message to those in Dance Ensemble, Burleson and Shalander both had things to say.
“Thank you all so much for being so positive and encouraging,” Burleson said. “I always look forward to going to practices because I know I’m about to spend time doing something I love with so many people that I love. You all are crazy talented, crazy fun, and crazy loved. I cannot wait to see what amazing things you all do in the coming years. You can always count on seeing my face in the audience, cheering you on.”
“Thank you is never going to be enough to express how much I appreciate all of you,” Shalander said. “As a guest choreographer and previous member, you all have made me feel so loved and welcomed. I’m sad not to be able to dance with you all again one last time, but I am prepared to scream from the audience seats as you all dazzle the stage in future shows.”
All current members of Dance Ensemble hope you’ll join them in the audience for next year’s fall and spring showcases. If you are interested in joining Dance Ensemble, look out for try-out dates at the beginning of the upcoming fall semester.