This Thursday, Oct. 28 marks the opening night of a new dance production, Ghost Pixcells. The production features both student and guest dancers and is the first major dance show at Whitman College since the start of the pandemic.
The stage manager for the production, junior psychology major Sydney Bellon, has helped put the show into full gear, working on the administrative side to make sure everything is running smoothly. Though not involved with the choreography of the piece, she spoke about the meaning of the title of the show, and what it was supposed to represent.
“The idea was sort of about coming out of the pandemic and our whole Zoom world. The atmosphere of the dance concert has some rebirth elements, and elements being in a technological world, mixed together,” Bellon said.
Though Bellon is excited to see this project really fulfilled, the process has often been stressful, especially to someone who is used to working in more of a theatre setting.
“I guess I’m looking forward to getting through opening night. The past couple of weeks, going into tech has been kind of overwhelming, but we’re getting through the process. Dance is definitely new to me…”
One of the performers, first-year Natalie Price, discussed the shift from online to in-person dancing class. She’s been working on this project for the past six weeks, and has really enjoyed the process of developing chemistry with other dancers and the environment working together provides.
“It’s definitely much better to dance in person, than online. You kinda lose the classroom experience when you are on zoom, and it’s just a whole different energy watching your instructors in person, rather than just staring at your laptop,” Price said.
But although she’s been thrilled to return to in-person dance classes, the adjustment hasn’t been challenge-free. After spending quarantine distanced from dancing, Price has had to work to regain her flexibility, and to stretch out old muscles again. Furthermore, as Price noted somewhat wryly, the adjustment back to in person has affected other parts of her academic life besides just dance.
“For me, it’s very difficult to pay attention. Before I could just turn my camera off and go do something else. Now I have to focus, ‘cause other people can notice if I’m not paying attention,” Price said.
Price has been really looking forward to the premiere of this new show, although she isn’t completely free of nerves. To Price, Ghost Pixcells represents something of a new approach to dance.
“I come from a background of lyrical and jazz dance, and this is something more interpretive, it’s something I’ve never really done before…It means something different to everyone. There is definitely an overall message, I don’t wanna give it away though,” Price said.
The first show starts at 8 p.m. at the Freimann Studio Theatre at Whitman College and is free for Whitman Students, with entrance fees applied to all other community members. The production will run until Oct. 31, when the final show will be staged starting at 2 p.m..