Emerson Dance Company to host first live show since fall 2019

Emerson+Dance+Company

Photo: Courtesy Miranda Nicusanti

Emerson Dance Company

By Sophia Pargas

After over a year of strictly pre-recorded and live streamed events, Emerson Dance Company is kicking off their first post-pandemic season in the Semel Theater on Saturday and Sunday with “Momentum,” a show featuring 76 student dancers performing tap, hip-hop, jazz, and contemporary numbers. 

“This semester, our show ‘Momentum’ will be showcasing 14 pieces from our student choreographers who each created different styled pieces all surrounding the theme of momentum,” EDC said on their show’s program. “Within the past year, we have all experienced momentum in different ways: feeling pushed forward, backward, and swung all the way around, but ‘Momentum’ for EDC this semester means moving together for the first time in-person on a stage since Fall 2019.”

The show features a variety of pieces and is guaranteed to have something for everyone in attendance. Each choreographed dance features its own song choice and personalized costumes to match the energy of the dance. 

“There’s definitely some lively, fun, get you going pieces, but also some other ones that have a more emotional, impactful storyline,” sophomore Payton Shepardson, a public relations major and EDC’s marketing director, said. “It’ll be really high energy.” 

Since the start of the pandemic, the company has been forced to move their events to YouTube, where they have hosted livestreams and uploaded pre-recorded content to replace the in-person shows. 

Get This Week's News

All the big stories delivered to your inbox every Thursday morning 

Company President Lauren Bjella, a senior journalism major, said she has become nostalgic for the experience of hosting an in person show.

“I’ve found myself recently rewatching all of our old [in person] show videos,” she said. “That feeling of show day is such a special one and it’s the one day when our entire company is together and moving together, so I’m really excited for this weekend.” 

Whether the cast members are new to the company or have been around since pre-pandemic operations, this show is a momentous one nonetheless. 

“[The show] means a lot to me and I know it means a lot to others as well,” Bjella said. “For those of us that are juniors and seniors, we’ve done in person shows for EDC, but there’s also those that are [first-years] or sophomores and this is their first time performing in person for EDC. There are definitely a lot of nerves, but ultimately, a lot of excitement getting to dance on stage again.” 

For many in the organization, like Shepardson, the theme of “Momentum” not only relates to the dance occurring onstage, but also the feelings behind the scenes. 

“This being the first show back since COVID, everyone’s been really excited,” Shepardson said. “It’s propelling us forward into this show. It’s momentum in a good way, of going back to the normality of things we used to do pre-COVID and into our new normal. It’s this exciting moving forward feeling.” 

“Momentum” is unique as it not only marks the return of dancers to the stage, but also the return of audiences in theatres. Shepardson encourages faculty, staff, and students to come and see the show with their own eyes. 

“All that Emerson Dance Company is about is a community,” she said. “Even though it’s a dance performance, we want you to enjoy yourselves and there’s really stories behind every piece. You can really be moved by everything in the show.” 

Members of the company, such as junior public relations major and social media director Zarina Levitsky, are eager for audiences to experience the passion and dedication poured into “Momentum.” 

After an extended period of time away from performing, she is confident that the appreciation for dance will be felt more than ever before, from both sides of the stage. 

“Watching people do the thing they love on stage brings so much joy because you can really see everything come together,” Levitsky said. “It’s going to be a lot of energy and I think that energy will fill up the whole theater. People will leave with a good feeling.”