By Alyssa Seidman
The Student Dance Association (SDA), along with the Post Concert Dance Company (PCDC), sponsored the Department of Theatre, Dance, Film, & Arts Management’s first annual dance gala on Sunday, Nov. 24. The fundraising event was held in the Tilles Center’s Atrium, and was co-hosted by Dan Potenzieri, Student Government Association (SGA) president, and PCDC manager Alyssa Harrington. The event’s chief coordinator was Freyani Patrice, a member of PCDC.
The audience at the gala consisted mainly of students from the Theatre, Film, Dance & Arts Management department, their families, and Post faculty. The event’s staff sold raffle tickets throughout the night to help raise money for the Dance department’s anticipated trip to the American College Dance Festival (ACDF) in June at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.
ACDF’s primary focus is to support and promote the talent and creativity throughout college Dance departments, and give Dance majors the opportunity to learn and dance with different professors and students from other universities.
Members of both PCDC and SDA performed choreographed pieces at the gala. The first act featured PCDC juniors and seniors performing a piece titled “Phenomenal Women.” The opening was a lively performance that featured movements that spoke a powerful message. The dance was dedicated to Alerie Tirsch, the director of Student Life, for all her contributions to the university. There were two solo acts performed as well, “Passion for Praise,” performed by Technicolor-costumed Akilah Cassells, and “Beloved,” performed by Meagan Kolakowski.
Post senior Holly Maddock choreographed the performance by Dance majors of “Genius is the Recovery of Childhood at Will”. The piece showcased the dancers performing a very fluid and alluring routine. The gala’s final act, “Rose Rouge,” was performed by the entire Student Dance Association, and was a fun and fiery finale that rounded out the night. The members of the ensemble were dressed alike and simply, wearing black slacks and white button-ups.
“The contributions and donations [to this event] cannot be counted in dollars and cents,” said Potenzieri about the importance of funding the arts. “There are many programs [on campus] that [the university] is unable to contribute to because of costs.”
PCDC, along with SDA, are helping to make the trip to the American College Dance Festival possible.” The president explained his high hopes for future SDA fundraisers: “The gala was a huge success, [and there was] tremendous support from faculty, administration, and the families [of performance students].”
Patrice, the gala’s coordinator, was also in good spirits. “I’m excited that it went well, and that there was a full house and things ran smoothly. We’re thankful for the efforts of Tilles as well as Post faculty to help make the evening a success,” she said. When asked about future galas, Patrice said, “Now we know how to run and plan it better. [We’re focusing on] more promotion and hosting in a bigger space for a bigger crowd; also a varied crowd to experience a variety of acts.”
Patrice also expressed how much it would mean to the dance department to attend ACDF. “[The festival] gives us a whole new outlook on dance, as well as the opportunity to work with different professors and students. [It’s an] enlightening and new experience that we’ve been attending for many years, and we want to keep [the tradition] going. We want to keep the arts going and not be defeated by budget cuts.”
In past years, Dance majors have been able to attend ACDF by funding from the school; this year, the fundraising event was organized to raise sufficient funds for the trip to D.C.
The First Annual Dance Gala’s promotions, and raffling for the event, helped SDA and PCDC reach their monetary goal to attend the American College Dance Festival next June.