Dance X Showcases Student Artistry
Lewis & Clark’s annual Dance Extravaganza, also known as Dance X, highlights the original works of student choreographers and performers. This year’s event will take place on December 2 and 3, with performances at 7:30 and 10 p.m. on the Main Stage in Fir Acres Theatre.
by Gabe Korer BA ’23
Lewis & Clark’s annual Dance Extravaganza, also known as Dance X, highlights the original works of student choreographers and performers for public audiences. This year’s event will take place on December 2 and 3, with performances at 7:30 and 10 p.m. on the Main Stage in Fir Acres Theatre.
Susan Davis, senior lecturer in theatre and program head of dance, is the faculty advisor for Dance X. She helped to create the event more than 20 years ago and enjoys fostering the creativity of Lewis & Clark students.
“I’m always encouraging invention, originality, authenticity, and problem solving,” said Davis. “I tend to focus on the arc of the movement. Does it make sense from beginning to end? What’s necessary and what isn’t?”
Dance X is part of Arts@LC, an initiative to provide conservatory-caliber experiences in the liberal arts setting. Many Dance X participants have taken courses in the dance minor, including Theatre 252, Rehearsal and Performance—Dance Extravaganza; Theatre 308, Dance Composition and Improvisation; and Theatre 299, Independent Study. However, Dance X is open to all students who have an interest in dance.
Cassidy Floyd-Driscoll BA ’24, a biology major and health studies minor, is excited to be both a dancer and choreographer for the event. Although she is not a dance minor, she participated in competitive dance in middle school and early high school. She reconnected with dance during her second semester at Lewis & Clark.
“I got involved with Dance Y [the spring semester dance showcase] and then took the dance composition and improv class,” said Floyd-Driscoll. “The class was super fun and taught me a lot about the artistry side of dance as opposed to the disciplined, training side of it. I was really excited to choreograph because I got to apply the techniques I had learned. I was able to approach dance as an exploratory practice and even a meditative practice sometimes. I was really excited to explore that side of myself as a dancer and as an artist.”
Floyd-Driscoll will perform in a piece by Gillian Leugers BA ’23, which features 14 dancers, all with a variety of dance backgrounds. She is also choreographing a piece titled “Que Caiga con Fuerze” (“Let It Fall With Force”) with her friend Molly Gibbons BA ’24.
“Some of the themes we’re exploring, in particular, are individuality versus unity and how women and people affected by the patriarchy can come together to create something really beautiful and powerful,” Floyd-Driscoll said. “I’m really happy with how it’s turned out. It’s been very collaborative between the two of us and our four dancers. The dancers are just so beautiful. I always leave rehearsal just so happy.”
The production and stage manager for Dance X is Anneliese Haberkamp BA ’25, a biology major and theatre minor who is on the pre-med track. As part of her role, she manages the technical side of putting on the performance as well as lending support to event participants.
“In the beginning, a lot of my roles were very administrative,” Haberkamp said. “But after the scheduling hump was over, I got to experience more of the fun part in working with the choreographers and the rest of the production team to ensure that their vision can come to life. We’ve come together really well to build a strong support system.”
In addition to performing on the Main Stage, multiple students from Dance X will participate in the American College Dance Association’s Northwest Conference, where their pieces will be performed and adjudicated. The conference hosts 35 colleges and university dance programs, and is meant to celebrate dance in higher education.
“It’s such a great experience for them to perform and get feedback,” Davis said. “They also get an opportunity to look at what other colleges and their peers are doing.”
On the final night of the conference, select students will perform at the Gala Concert. According to Davis, dancers from Lewis & Clark have been chosen to exhibit their pieces at the Gala in the past.
“Out of the 35 or so pieces that are presented, they pick 10 for the Gala Concert,” Davis said. “Our students have been able to get into the Gala for quite a few years, which is exciting because we’re one of the smallest dance programs at the event.”
In reflecting on the legacy of Dance X within the theatre department, Davis is pleased with how it has grown over the years.
“It’s really about the students,” Davis said. “It’s evidence of the enthusiasm, the need, and the desire for this art form to thrive on this campus.”