Dancers present benefit performances

As part of an ongoing effort to bring dance to the greater Erie community, the Mercyhurst Dance Department is presenting a series of outreach benefit performances.

The first two performances took place in the fall term, and the outreach will continue throughout the year.

This outreach project has been organized by junior Megan Dunphy, who is the chairperson for the Outreach Team in the dance department.

“I thought it was wonderful that we were able to get together such a great performance in a short amount of time,” said Dunphy. “I was really proud of all the dancers and choreographers.”

Seniors Claire Hinde, Nicole Lyons and Sarah Mastrocola all set new works on the dancers to be used for outreach performance throughout this year. Juniors Kristen Marincic and J.M. Rodriguez also prepared self-choreographed solos for the outreach shows.

On Nov. 10, 16 dancers performed at the Neighborhood Art House for more than 40 children.

Along with the group pieces and solos, senior Lindsey Smith and junior David Jakubson performed a pas de deux (dance for two) as part of a partnering demonstration.

“The audience was very engaged and focused,” said Jakubson. “It seemed like they were very interested and were trying to figure out what the dance was about.”

To enhance the interactive nature of the performance, the dancers also brought a tutu and pointe shoes to show and discuss with the children. Jakubson also did some small partnering moves with a few of the children.

On Nov. 11, in honor of Veterans Day, 13 dancers went to the Mercy Hilltop Center and performed for residents assembled for a Veteran’s Day luncheon. Hinde and Mastrocola honored this holiday with their choreographed pieces, which had a slight Americana flavor and featured music by Aaron Copeland and Johnny Cash.

“The audience members at each of these shows had never seen a live dance performance before, and they all really seemed to love it,” said Dunphy.

The dance department looks forward to several more outreach performances in the future, featuring both new works and those presented during fall outreaches.