SoMar Dance Works – a great success

Nadine Fox, Staff writer

SoMar Dance Works: “Slice of Life” performed on Saturday, Feb. 18 at 7:00 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 19 at 2:00 p.m. in the Walker Recital Hall. SoMar Dance Company’s Artistic Directors are Associate Dance Professor, Solveig Santillano and Assistant Professor Mark Santillano, at Mercyhurst University. Solveig and Mark are greatly experienced and have both danced all over the world.
Their choreography is heavily influenced by their association with their former companies: Pilobolus Dance Theatre and Momix. In 1999 SoMar Dance Works made their first premiere at the Missouri Fine Arts Academy and have performed at numerous universities and dance festivals as well as presenting multiple concerts for the community. SoMar has collaborated in partnership with different companies including Erie Dance Conservatory, Lake Erie Ballet and Dafmark Dance Theater.

The company includes eight dancers: Katie Bazala, Katie Bleu-Barley Matalski, Rebecca Jones, Katherine Kilbourn, Meggie Peterson, Madeleine Plourde, Sophie Satoh and Mia Semiearo. The performance was a mixed repertoire concert including both live performances and different dance films featuring eleven different works created and choreographed by the Santillanos. Mia Semiearo, a current Sophomore dance major and new company member said, “I watched SoMar perform last year during the Spring Concert and once I saw the performance, I  knew I wanted to audition and be a part of the group. It was all I expected and more, I was able to learn and explore new movement styles and became more comfortable with expression. There were lots of twistsand turns full of fun and funky movement.

Even though we are a small group, it was a powerful performance and something I hope people had a chance to attend.” Madeleine Plourde and Katherine Kilbourn, both junior dance majors said, “There truly is something for everyone whether as an audience member or a dancer, you’ll never know what to expect.” Katie Bleu, a senior dance major said, “Freshman year I remember wanting to be a part of SoMar. I was like a little kid with eyes glimmering watching all of the really unique, athletic, and fun things they did as a company.

That year I didn’t get in, but the next time I auditioned I was accepted into the company. That was so exciting for me and I am so glad to be a part of the SoMar experience for a second year.” The rehearsal process for SoMar starts with experimenting with material, deciding what old pieces to bring back, and just getting to know one another through working together as a company. The Santillanos are amazing directors.

Bleu said, “They care so much about what they are doing and are so passionate about the work they do. Although the whole dance department here at Mercyhurst is like a family, SoMar is a family within a family. We are all so supportive of one another and love to dance with each other. For this specific performance SoMar pulled out a huge mix of entertaining, beautiful and crazy fun pieces. You never knew what to expect next. We have been working hard to bring to the stage a show everyone will love.”

If you missed the performance this year, rest assured that this has been a returning program, so expect to see it in the future! The dance program at Mercyhurst is one of the most popular programs and it has a great reputation, and this performance was a perfect exhibition of that. The SoMar Dance Works was a dance concert that was portrayed as “full of life, any way you slice it.”