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Bwog Covers Ballet

Bwog attempting to do ballet

Bwog attempting to do ballet

Yesterday, Columbia Ballet Collaborative put on a showcase of dances in their fall performance at the Manhattan Movement & Arts Center. Dance diva Mason Amelotte brings you his review of the showcase, as well as interviews with Artistic Director Audrey Crabtree-Hannigan and student dancer Maya Barad, CC ’16.

Who knew that a world of dance was only a hop, skip, and a jump away on the 1 train? A quick ride to Columbus Circle on Saturday was all one needed to see Columbia Ballet Collaborative’s annual fall showcase. This student-led dance group performed six never-before-seen pieces in the Manhattan Movement & Arts Center.

Each dance brought something completely different to the table. “Momentum Melodies” opened the show with high energy and lots of motion. “Patience Impatience” added suspense to the show, as three dancers performed using the aid of a long rope with weights attached to it. Imagine watching someone trying to untangle iPhone headphones while also avoiding dropping a weight on their foot, all the while dancing. “Ta-da!” built up the energy again, as a group of six dancers channeled attention-craved ballerinas, running around applauding one another.

After a short intermission, dancers in long wool dresses came out to perform “Castle of Sand.” Perhaps the standout performance of the show, the bright costumes only added to the fluid motions of each dancer. “Infernal Didjerry” embodied an animalistic element, moving to a heavy drumbeat and a didgeridoo. Last, but certainly not least, “Odyssey” combined modern elements of hip-hop dance with classical elements of ballet.

We got the chance to sit down with the show’s Artistic Director, Audrey Crabtree-Hannigan and ask her about Columbia Ballet Collaborative as a group.

Bwog: Your dancers come from different companies across the country. How has this affected CBC as a group?

Audrey: I think what is really unique about CBC is that we’re bonded by the fact that we are all students in academic pursuits other than just studio dance. It’s a really unique bond that forms because there’s a sense of coming to the studio because you want to come dance. There’s the idea of making time for it, even though for a Columbia student there’s so much going on all the time.

B: How do you determine who’s in charge of choreographing each dance in a performance?

A: We generally have professional choreographers who will email us or hear about us through press releases that we send out. From there they’ll send the artistic board, made up of other students and me, their reels and résumés which we then look over. We try to build a solid program that has strong choreographic ability and is also diverse.

B: CBC has an outreach program that’s mentioned on your website. Could you tell me more about that?

A: There’s a different group of people in charge of the program each semester due to scheduling. Usually we go to an elementary school and put on a once-a-week class for about a month and a half where we do low-level ballet with students. We’ve put on the class for second grade and fifth grade so far, and we get to just go and do ballet with them. It’s a lot of fun because at the end, we usually put on a show where they perform on their own auditorium stage and show each other what they’ve learned.

B: How can people who aren’t a part of ballet or CBC get involved in something like this?

A: You can get involved as either a dancer or as an administrator. Every semester we hold auditions that are open to any Columbia University student of any of the affiliate schools. Administratively, we always send out emails to our listserv whenever we have administration positions available for people that might be interested.

Additionally, we sat down with CC ’16 student, Maya Barad.

Bwog: What’s the best part of being in CBC?

Maya: This is my first semester getting to be a part of CBC. I’m thankful for the opportunity to get to work with such talented choreographers and experienced dancers as someone new to the group.

Learning something new via Shutterstock

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