The crowd at the Performing Arts Mainstage couldn’t help but emit a collective “Aww” as the stage lights lit up to illuminate two dancers on stage: 83-year-old Beverly Polcyn and her 68-year-old dance partner, Hap Palmer.
Their number began with a relatively conservative composition and the couple, both clad in red ensembles, tap-danced to the tune. Then, the music changed.
A medley, opening with Ke$ha’s “Tik Tok” and transitioning to hits like the Black Eyed Peas’ “Boom Boom Pow” and Flo Rida’s “Low” began playing, and the crowd clapped loudly and cheered enthusiastically as Polcyn and Palmer started hip-hop dancing.
Polcyn and Palmer were only two of the hundred plus dancers that graced the Mainstage during the Pierce College Dance Theatre Department’s annual Spring Dance Concert, which took place Friday to Sunday.
The three-day dance show, which features routines created by both student and faculty choreographers, has been going on since Artistic and Dance Director, Marian Weiser, and retired dance instructor, Kay Turney, started it over 18 years ago.
Since then, the number of dancers who participate in the show has increased significantly.
“We started out with only nine people,” Weiser said. “Now we have about 112 dancers.”
Weiser said Saturday that Turney was expected to attend the last show of the concert.
The Dance Theatre students perform their numbers for their dance shows both on and off campus, according to Weiser.
The Children’s Dance Theatre, a branch of the Dance Theatre Department, also performed Saturday as part of the show.
The Spring Dance Concert typically showcases a variety of contemporary dance styles, including modern dance, ballet, hip-hop, musical theater, tap dance, dance improvisation and dance drama.
“It’s really heavy on hip-hop this year,” Weiser said.
The money earned through the Spring Dance Concert goes strictly to the Pierce College Dance Club, according to Weiser.
The club, in turn, pays for everything needed for the show, she said.
“The [Associated Students Organization] gives us a small stipend of around $2,000,” said Weiser. “But it costs at least $14,000 to $15,000 [to put on the concert].”
The Dance Club single-handedly supports the Dance Theatre Department financially through concert and concession sales, off-campus performances and fundraisers.
There were a total of 20 performances included in the show, and each day opened to a full house.
The concert began with a number entitled “Timeless Decades,” a succession of dance numbers that reflect the Lindy Hop style of dance: a fusion of dance styles popular during the preceding decades of its emergence.
“Snapped” is another student-choreographed piece featured at the concert. It focused on the various ways people deal with addiction.
In order to illustrate this allusion, choreographer Malorie Mummert had the dancers tie one end of wide bands of black garter around their wrists and wind the other end around their ankles.
“I thought the use of the props [for ‘Snapped’] was interesting,” said Anita Greenberg, 46, business major. “Everyone feels that way at some point in their lives.”
Denise Gibson, adjunct instructor of physical education, choreographed two pieces in the concert: “Maltrato” and “Thackeray.”
“I like working with the students and seeing them succeed through the hard work that they put into their performances,” she said.
Caroline Theodrou, Dance Club president, was one of the dancers for “Carnival Ball,” a hip-hop piece choreographed by DaRon Bell and Russell McFadden.
“The production gives a group of people a chance to be a family, to showcase their talents and show how hard they’ve been working,” said Theodrou. “Hearing the applause, the ‘ooohs’ and the ‘ahhhs,’ makes it all worth it.”
Martin Dancers, a professional dance company headed by Shirley Martin, also prepared a number for the concert.
Though it did not have a title, their piece involved the performers dancing to the beat of live bongo music.
The show concluded with 12 dancers from the Dance Theatre Company forming, through different poses, a human prop spelling the word: DANCE.
“I found the concert to be really inspiring,” said 21-year-old Pierce student Talia Cheren. “Seeing all the performances makes me want to take all the dance classes now.”
Audience members who regularly attend the concerts put together by the Dance Theatre Department also expressed their appreciation for last weekend’s concert.
“I’ve been to a lot of dance concerts,” Greenberg said. “But I thought this one was the most creative and edgy one I’ve seen.”