National Dance Week is this week and it makes the perfect time for the Mercyhurst Dance Department to celebrate all of their milestones in their annual production of “Raw Edges.”
The performance is a collaboration of the Regional Cancer Center, current Mercyhurst dancers and alumni dancers.
Although this is the 16th showcase of “Raw Edges,” it is celebrating the 40 years of dance at Mercyhurst.
The Saturday evening gala on May 3 will celebrate and honor the 20 years that artistic director Tauna Hunter and production manager/resident designer Michael Gleason have spent at Mercyhurst.
Hunter, a 6-year breast cancer survivor, has two personal works in the performance. Hunter has a collection of dance pieces that illustrate her talents in ballet, musical theatre, and operetta genres.
One of Hunter’s pieces is inspired by 9/11 and titled “For Loss of Renee.” It is a dramatic contemporary duet for two women. It is performed to Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings. The piece reflects emotions of loss, grief, and healing.
The second of Hunter’s pieces is titled “Quiet Chaos” and will be performed to the music of Philip Glass and Jennifer Barezan. This piece represents Hunter’s everyday struggle to find balance.
“Symphonie Italienne,” choreographed by Gleason, will be performed by 20 women and three men to Italian Symphony by Felix Mendelssohn. This piece premiered in 2003 and has since been a favorite of the dancers.
Rachel James, alumni, created “Inscription” in collaboration with 10 dancers. She describes the piece as a piece of art brought to life by the livelihood and breath of the Mercyhurst dancers.
She continues to describe the romantic atmosphere created by the exploration and intangible joy from another’s presence.
Reflecting on the dance “night,” junior dance major Katarina Fitzpatrick describes the paradoxical menace and romance shown through the various dance genres.
“Of the Night” is performed by a large group of dancers. Through the piece they project the emotions associated with night. There are four dance moves in brief vignettes that communicate the night’s social context.
Alumnus who have returned to help in the production include Alyssa Alger, Caroline Milliken Euker, Justin Michael Hogan, Cassandra Powers Surdula, and as mentioned before, Rachel James.
“Talk Back,” a chance to meet and talk with the dancers and choreographers, will be held after the Friday and Saturday night performances.
Performances will be held in the Mary D’Angelo Performing Arts Center. The preview performance will take place Friday, May 2, at 4:30 p.m. This performance is balcony seating only and all tickets cost $5.
All other performances will be held Saturday, May 3, at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., and Sunday, May 4, at 2 p.m.
Tickets cost $15.50 for adults, $12 for seniors and students and $5 for children 12 and under.
With a Mercyhurst ID, students can purchase tickets for $3.50.
Breast cancer survivors who present their Regional Cancer Center ID can purchase tickets for $5 to any performance they choose.