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Muscles, Moves and a Miraculous Art

By Fatin Amin

Thunder claps, heel turns, and plies spur Dance Happening into action as students strut their moves in Falk Theater from Oct. 28-Oct. 30. Dance Happening is comprised of various dances that range from social commentaries to pure enjoyment of the art and are primarily student-choreographed.

While immense creativity is required to both plan and perform in these acts, the physical fitness required is equally as important.

Senior Danielle Eves has the spotlight this year as she choreographs her first group dance for the show. Taking the driver’s seat for the first time, Eves found it challenging but has been able to cope with it.

“It’s pretty intimidating because it’s weird having that much power in your hands,” Eves said. “My piece has nine people and I tell them every move to do, I tell them the costumes, I tell them the lighting. It’s all on you and it’s really overwhelming for your first time but we work really well with other choreographers that have done this and the department provides support for us.”

 Majoring in Human Performance, Eves is knowledgeable on the major muscle groups that are essential to performing well on stage. Warm-ups are a requirement for Eves and she makes it a priority to stretch to loosen up the body.

“Neck is a very important one that a lot of people forget to do,” Eves said. “It’s a lot of hamstrings, quads, some back, but we will do sitting in your center splits, sit in your right splits, sit in your left splits. You have to lean forward, lean back in each of them and try to do it without your hands so that it is just your bodyweight is resting on itself.”

Eves expressed how dance can be exhausting when there are long practices during the week, even in parts of the body you wouldn’t expect.

“It depends what kind of moves you’re doing,” Eves said. “It can be very stressful on your joints. If you don’t warm up properly, you can easily tear a muscle because you’re doing these high kicks, and if your body is not ready for it, it will definitely injure you.”

Senior Samantha Pouchak, who currently is choreographing her final piece for Dance Happening called “The Blind Spot,” has been a veteran in providing the best workout regime for her dancers before performing.

Typically I like doing cardio for a warm-up,” Pouchak said. “Some jumping jacks, abs, and then stretching of course. Really getting the body warm to dance fully. Sometimes we do need to get right to work and I’ll just have my dancers run the dance a few times, not fully out but just to get the blood flowing.”

Pouchak has been in the dance scene since age four. As an applied dance major, Pouchak has not steered away from the basic fundamentals of limbering up when she dances.

“I like to stretch a lot in my hips, as I have an injury,” Pouchak said. “But I pretty much run through each muscle and stretch as needed. I love to roll out my neck and my back though. It just feels good.” 

Pouchak’s life revolves around dance. She admits that it can be challenging, but pushes on and maintains a healthy lifestyle to stay in shape.

“It gets pretty exhausting,” Pouchak said. “For me, it gets worse with late rehearsals, I feel like my brain and body shuts down after a certain time. But I’ve been doing this for so long I typically push through my exhaustion. I try to eat as healthy as possible with a treat every once in awhile. Because I do dance everyday, I typically eat lighter foods and snacks. I definitely always have an apple in my bag to snack on.”

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