Teaching through dance

Behind the scenes of Moving Stories

Emi Giuseffi '21 and Jalil Robinson '22 dance in "Cornerstone."

Muhlenberg’s annual dance spectacular, Moving Stories, made its debut on campus on Thursday, Nov. 7.  Additional performances were open to the college community on Friday, Nov. 8 at 8 pm and Saturday Nov. 9 with a 2 pm matinee and 8 pm show times. With sold out shows and huge turnouts, Moving Stories truly had something for everyone to enjoy!

This year’s Moving Stories comprised of 12 original dance works choreographed and performed by Muhlenberg students in Baker Theatre, exploring a wide range of different themes. The student choreographers were Heather Downey ‘20, Heather Dutton ‘20, Greyson Gerdts ‘21, Lilianne Gering ‘21, Emi Giuseffi ‘21, Alex Goshert ‘20, Abigail Linnemeyer ‘20, Morgan Litzenberger ‘20, Hailey McMichael ‘21, Maura O’Reilly ‘20, Ashley Veglia ‘21 and Karlie Lynn Zabin ‘20.  Choreographers were selected by a process that included submitting proposals, both oral and written, to dance faculty, who later chose the ones which they saw best fit for the Moving Stories stage. The dances touched on a plethora of themes, ranging from the disastrous effects of the environmental crisis to the meaning of family and home.

Sarah Koenig ‘23 described the show as “captivating” because of the emotion and athleticism that the dancers portrayed on stage.  Contemporary, modern, tap and many more genres were included in the program, dazzling audiences. The personal setting of Baker Theatre was the prime space that allowed the performers to connect with the audience on a more intimate level through art. 

 “There was so much variety within the concert that made it enjoyable to watch all the way through,” dancer and choreographer Heather Downey ‘20 emphasized. “I’m so thankful that Muhlenberg has given me so many opportunities to choreograph and express myself on stage during my four years here.” 

Downey choreographed the show’s opening tap dance, “Spark Blaze Burst,” as well as performing in “Drip and Drip and Drip and Drop,” and “Rerouting.” This is Downey’s third Moving Stories performance, and in her free time, Downey also serves as the Co-Alumni Relations Chair on the Muhlenberg Dance Association (MDA). The MDA creates a close-knit, fun space for dancers on campus through community service and other events such as Danceworks, an informal dance concert inviting student performers to come and showcase their talent. Another dance event coming up is the Dance Gallery in December, which allows choreographers studying Dance Composition to have their pieces performed.

“I have really loved moving and learning from older and experienced dancers as a freshman. I have learned so much in such a short period of time,” performer Morgan Randall ‘23 expressed with excitement. “The community here is so welcoming and I have never felt like I’ve been in the wrong place. We all dance because we love to move and express ourselves, it’s a really beautiful thing.” Randall danced in the pieces “Synthwave” and “Chromatic Configuration” for this year’s performance of Moving Stories.

“Chromatic Configuration” was choreographed by Morgan Litzenberger and was the finale of Moving Stories. The dance’s message was to experiment with different sounds in music and allow the audience to hear these sounds that they would not usually hear. Throughout the entirety of the piece, each dance move correlated with a specific musical sound, which translated over to audiences in a beautiful way. The dancers were clad in vibrant colors and this piece was a tasteful, refined conclusion to the show.

For veteran dancers like Downey, this particular iteration of Moving Stories stood out from the crowd. “I’m really proud of my dancers, fellow choreographers and their casts,” Downey said, “because this was one of the strongest concerts I’ve seen at Muhlenberg.”

Be sure to mark your calendars for December’s Dance Gallery.

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