Both experienced and novice dancers will debut their semester’s work this weekend at the annual December Dance Concert. Featuring a wide variety of repertory styles, the concert will also showcase the abstract work of visiting artist Lily Bo Shapiro ’12. 

Senior Lecturer in Dance Performance Gwyneth Jones hopes that students will come to see their peers perform and recognize that the dance department includes dancers of all levels.

“I think that’s a pretty terrific thing to realize,” she said.

According to Nick Walker ’16, a dancer in the Modern II: Repertory and Performance class, energy between movements can differ, even within a single piece. He is dancing in a four-movement piece with five other dancers.

“The first and the third [movements] are just slower, more thoughtful, and then the second and fourth are a little more energetic,” he said.

Walker has taken three dance classes at Bowdoin and noted that his performance this year features the individual dancers’ creations more prominently than in the past. He and his peers were able to choreograph much of the routine.

Lucia Gagliardone ’20, also a dancer in Modern II, will make her dance debut this weekend. She said she thinks the dance, which involves partner and group work, offers the audience a different perspective of dance and interaction.

“Movement in an ensemble is really about trusting each other and working together,” she said, “There’s not a hierarchy. It’s all about the ensemble.”

“I do think that it’s an art form that is often taken for granted. I hope more people will start to love it too by seeing it,” Gagliardone said. 

Students will share the stage with Shapiro, whose visit comes as part of an ongoing effort by the dance department to bring alumni to campus to perform for and connect with the students. 

“[It’s a nice way] for students to see that alums are dancing outside of Bowdoin,” said Jones, who also produced this year’s concert. “And I think when you have exposure that’s also more personal—like they’re going to get to work with her—I think it’s … something you’ll remember for much longer.”

“It feels really good to come back to Bowdoin with a purpose or with a job: to be teaching, to be performing, to come back and have a really specific engagement with students and faculty and community,” Shapiro said.

Shapiro said that alumni and other guest artists can demonstrate the opportunities and possibilities that dance can open up to students.

“There are ways that dance or performance or art making can continue in one’s life or as a career, as a life practice,” she said.

The other three pieces in the concert come from the Making Dances class and the Modern I and Modern II: Repertory and Performance classes. Two of these classes, Making Dances and Modern I, are introductory-level, and their performances feature students who may have never danced before an audience.

Shapiro also encouraged students to participate in and attend live performances on campus.

“It’s important for the students to have opportunities to perform,” she said. “It’s also important for folks to go see live performance … It’s ritualistic, it’s religious, it’s spiritual, it’s community oriented, and I really do think that live performance can change lives.