If someone were to walk into the theatre building late on a Thursday night, they would most likely find groups of RUSH dancers practicing their pirouettes and jazz runs, jamming out to the latest hit album or learning new sequences of choreography. Dancers include students with extensive dance training to students with little to no dance experience at all.
After weeks of rehearsals and sore muscles, the dancers are finally ready to take to the stage and show the NWC campus the fruits of their labor.
When auditions for this year’s production of RUSH rolled around in mid-January, sophomore Chris Miksch jumped at the chance to become a part of the RUSH experience.
“I have always enjoyed dancing but I couldn’t participate in last year’s show due to an ankle injury,” Miksch said. “After watching last year’s show, I knew I wanted to audition.”
Freshman Kelsey Epp expressed similar feelings of excitement at the prospect of auditioning.
“I did a lot of theatre and dance in high school, but I just haven’t had much time to be involved in the arts since coming to college,” Epp said. “I felt that RUSH would be the perfect way to fulfill my creative side.”
As one of the few male dancers in this year’s RUSH cast, Miksch said his experience has been both challenging and extremely rewarding.
“When we were learning the audition dance, it was difficult for me because I knew that most of the dance moves were designed for girls,” Miksch said. “But my choreographer has really helped me to realize what I can make of the dance as a male dancer and how I can contribute my individual strengths to the group as a whole.”
In contrast to the other theatre opportunities offered on NW’s campus, RUSH casts every single student who decides to audition, regardless of their previous dancing experience. It also holds the unique distinction of being produced by student choreographers and lighting designers. This year’s showcase features the original work of 17 student choreographers and includes dance styles that range from jazz, musical theatre and hip hop to modern, lyrical and ballet.
Miksch and Epp are both dancing in a modern dance piece, a dance style that combines elements of ballet with more contemporary movement.
“I love how modern dance differs from other dance forms. It’s outside of my usual comfort zone, but I love how relaxing and uplifting the movements are,” Miksch said.
Epp has found modern to be an exciting dance form that has challenged her to explore a new realm of movement: “In the past I have always tended to express myself through words, but there is something so beautiful about being able to tell a story through movement.”
Set to hit the stage Feb. 23-25, this year’s RUSH Student Dance Showcase promises to be a one-of-a-kind experience for dancers and audience members alike. Performances will be held on 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, Feb. 23-24 and 4 p.m., 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 25, in the England Proscenium Theatre of the DeWitt Theatre Arts Center.