Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Where Dancing Meets Dreaming: Emerson Urban Dance Theater’s REM


Emerson Urban Dance Theater brought dreaminess and vibrancy to the week with REM, their latest dance concert themed around sleep, dreams, and nightmares. 

With performances on Nov. 8th and Nov. 9th, the team filled the Semel Theater to the brim. The 16 numbers showed the choreographers’ creativity and the dancers’ versatility. From beginning to end, the dancers take the audience through sleeping, dreaming, and waking up, using evocative facial expressions, symbolic formations, and diverse moves.

Each dance troupe’s biannual dance concert has a brand new theme that the dancers decide. The team’s artistic board decided that this semester’s theme inspired the five contemporary, five hip-hop, four tap, and two total company numbers. 

One of the opening numbers, “Sleeping on my Dreams,” was choreographed by sophomore Fifi Schultz, EUDT’s production manager. As a dancer, choreographer, and creative, Schultz’s creative process while choreographing includes a deep dive into the music she’s using for her piece. This semester, aligning with the show’s theme, she selected Jacob Collier’s “Sleeping On My Dreams.” The music builds and calms throughout the song, conveying a sleeplike pattern. The song’s versatility and structure embodied Schultz’s vision for the piece. 

Underneath the musical intentions for this piece lies a deeper meaning of losing sight of your dreams because of a failing relationship. This piece takes the audience through the sadness of fleeting dreams and sleepless nights over a lost love. 

“You can’t dream if you can’t fall asleep,” Schultz said. “It starts with this alarm sound, waking up, then the chorus is a softer deep sleep, and then with the bridge, they hit REM, and it’s the dreamiest section.”

The dancers build and dwindle their intensity throughout the number, demonstrating the multifaceted narrative behind the piece. The song’s shifts in tone allowed Schultz’s choreography to showcase the dancer’s strengths and versatility.  

“I enjoyed the textures that the song offered because there are parts that are very hard-hitting but also groovy parts,” she said. “It allowed for a dynamic piece.”

While working on crafting this piece, Schultz was stressed as it was her first time choreographing for EUDT’s hip-hop company. Each dance only gets four rehearsals, demanding extensive memorization from the dancers. Schultz was met with additional challenges including reserving rehearsal spaces, leading the company to practice in classrooms in the Little Building. Ultimately, Schultz says these difficulties helped unite the company and unite the team. Extensive work, thought, and time went into creating “Sleeping on My Dreams,” and Schultz was satisfied with the results.

“It’s a commitment to choreograph, but it’s all worth it when I see my vision come to fruition on stage,” Schultz said.

Sophomore dancer and choreographer Mailey Baer co-choreographed an intense contemporary number with fellow company member Maddie Pope. This is Baer’s third semester on EUDT and her first time choreographing a piece for a show. While developing her vision for the number, she landed on a song she deeply connected with. Her selected song, “Your Best American Girl” by Mitski, inspired her emotional piece. 

“We came up with a story of self-acceptance, of dreaming of being someone else and the process of accepting yourself by the end,” Baer said. 

Baer’s storyline behind the dance evolved and ultimately flourished into an intersecting narrative about the path to empowerment. For both Pope and Baer, EUDT has encouraged them to embrace their authentic selves through the overwhelmingly supportive community in the company. Erupting in applause and cheers from the sidelines, the team members were each other’s loudest and most enthusiastic cheerleaders. 

“One thing that makes EUDT stand out is our connection,” Schultz said. “The bond we have between us is something special.”

Throughout the show, it was evident that the team’s impenetrable connection contributed to their dancing’s cohesiveness. They moved as a collective, making for an in-sync execution of the choreography. 

Each performance invited the audience into a compelling and lulling adventure, escaping everyday life’s stress. With the demanding midterm season coming to an end, this show offered joy and entertainment to the attendees. During the show, I felt entranced and invested in the intertwined narratives that were woven into each dance. 

“It’s almost the end of the semester,” Baer said. “I just want people to enjoy themselves.”

This joy among the dancers radiated during the pieces, diffusing that spark to the audience members. Ultimately, the dancers aspire for the audience to feel the love between the company members.

“We want the audience to take away the feeling of a bunch of people who love each other dancing together,” Schultz said.  

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About the Contributor
Margaux Jubin
Margaux Jubin, Staff Writer
Margaux Jubin is a sophomore journalism major from Los Angeles, California. She is currently a Staff Writer for the Berkeley Beacon. Outside The Beacon, Margaux loves live music, hanging out with friends, and spending time in nature.

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