Dancing, miming, acting, performing and entertaining were all a part of this year’s annual Broadway Unbound production on Friday, May 6 in Cowles Memorial Auditorium. So much more than just a dance recital, the production treated the crowd to a night of all mediums of entertainment by students in various theatre and dance classes at Whitworth University. The collection of performances displayed the significant amount of work the students had done.
Senior Andrea Ansari was a member of the musical theatre dance class and had a good experience with Broadway Unbound.
“It’s a chance for us to show and celebrate all of our hard work,” Ansari said.
The musical theatre dance class performed three pieces, including “America” from “West Side Story,” “Hair” from the musical “Hair” and “All That Jazz” from “Chicago.”
Dance classes at Whitworth offer something new to students.
“I enjoy learning new things and getting the chance to be out of my major,” Ansari said. “I’m a science major, so this experience is totally different from what I’m used to.”
Comedy was not left out of Broadway Unbound. Two students from the acting II class, junior Alivia Bierschbach and senior Stephanie Wiley, performed a scene from “Tartuffe,” which resulted in laughs from the audience. Sophomore Matthew Comi, a performance theory student, performed a piece called “Something Silly,” in which he used a quote from Shel Silverstein and drew some laughs with his portrayal of a ventriloquist puppet.
The students of the jazz II class did three dances, titled “Imagine,” “The Struggle” and “Veracity.” A standout performance was “The Struggle,” where the group of 14 girls danced to the popular song by Christina Perri titled “Jar of Hearts.” It was an emotional piece that highlighted a few of the dancers throughout.
Junior Caitlin Tuttle was a part of both the jazz II and musical theatre dance classes.
“I think [Broadway Unbound] is something to work toward,” Tuttle said. “It’s the second semester, so there are harder techniques and more is expected of you.”
It’s not all technique, though. There is definitely a lot of fun involved.
“I love being up and dancing and knowing that people are watching,” Tuttle said. “It’s an adrenaline rush. It’s so much different in the classroom than it is being on the stage.”
The most intense piece of the night was called “It’s All I Know,” choreographed by Whitworth dance instructor Karla Parbon, and performed by six students: senior Courtney Alfrey, freshman Theresa Benz, junior Andrew Coopman, junior Katie Fergus, sophomore Dana Sammond and sophomore Katie Traylor. The piece was for the American College Dance Festival Association.The group performed it at the regional festival in Moscow, Idaho over Spring Break. The dancers applied and auditioned for their spots, and started rehearsing in December 2010. The piece combined speaking with dancing, and centered on the issue of anger.
Coopman was a member of this group, as well as the musical theatre dance class.
“For ACDF, we all had to come to terms with the anger within ourselves,” Coopman said. “It brought me peace, contemplation and thought.”
For Coopman, dancing is a way to deal with all of life’s emotions.
“I love everything that just comes out,” Coopman said. “The emotion, the message, the theme. It all comes out through you. Dance is physical, emotional and spiritual. It’s a way to work through all of that.”
The mime class performed two well-received pieces throughout the evening. “Hands” made creative use of black lights. With all of the class members lined up on stage, black lights were turned on so the audience could only see the white gloves moving. They also performed “A Light Unto My Path,” which utilized a song by Amy Grant called “Thy Word.”
Most students involved with the production see it as a good way to show the fruits of their labor.
“I think it’s a great way to display what we’ve learned throughout the whole semester,” Coopman said. “It’s a tangible way to see all of our work, and it’s also collaborative, with all of the classes coming together.”
In addition to honoring all of the students who put in a lot of hard work, the students also honored Dr. Rick Hornor, theatre department chair, who will be leaving Whitworth after this semester.
The theatre faculty gave a humorous account of Hornor’s time at Whitworth while showing a slide show of photos documenting his adventures and leading the audience in a silly song and dance.
Broadway Unbound came to a close with Hornor being pulled to the stage by students and doing a little dance with the performers as they gave their final bow.