Dancers Showcases Student Choreography

Amy Hirsch

The dance department is anticipating an exciting week of performances with the 39th Annual Dance Performance, which began Tuesday in the dance theater, located in the Sierra Nevada building.

“This is going to be a great show,” said Lynn McMurrey, artistic director and professor emeritus. “I have a very talented group of students this year with amazing ideas.”

All of the performances are student-choreographed, McMurrey said.

“None of it was done by the teachers,” said the former dance department chair. “[They are] all students’ ideas. There are 14 different dances – all kinds of dances – ballet, hip-hop, salsa. There is everything. We will be putting probably 60 dancers on stage. It is the work of two classes: dance production and jazz performance.”

McMurrey described the contents of the performances. “The students deal with subject matter that is important to them right now. Some of the subject matter is not easy.some is meant for mature audiences, not appropriate for children.”

There will be nine performances and the dance theater holds up to 300 people, and, since there are usuall full houses, McMurrey recommended that the audience arrive early.

According to McMurrey, Glendale’s dance department differs from other dance departments due to professional experience of the faculty.

“Every teacher has to have a master’s degree, but all of our teachers have also been professional dancers,” said McMurrey, “So, the students are actually learning from people who know what the business is about.. I don’t believe you can teach students an art form unless you have actually practiced it.”

McMurrey has had a distinguished career as a dance choreographer, producing and performing in a number of important productions, both internationally (particularly in France) as well as in the US. In addition to his activities as a dance educator, he has served several years as president of the Academic Senate and College Guild at GCC.

The dance department at GCC offers programs leading to both an AS certificate in dance and an AA dance major degree; in addition, a dance teaching certificate will be offered soon.

Dora Krannig, current chair of the dance department, trained at the Royal Ballet School in London. She has danced and taught with major ballet companies in Europe, New Zealand and New York.

Krannig notes that the department has been reshaped with the additional offering of a dance teaching certificate program “because dancers don’t dance forever and they should be prepared to teach. There is a big market out there for teaching dance.people need to move for health reasons . teaching amateurs how to dance can be achieved with a dance certificate.”

The performances will be held in the dance theater from tonight through Friday at noon and 8 p.m, Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at at 2 p.m.

Admission is free and open to the public. No children under 5 will be admitted. Early arrival is recommended since seating is limited.