By Erika Moreno / Delta Staff Writer
The Repertory Dance Ensemble has been busy, travelling to see “Taj Express: The Bollywood Musical Revue” at the Johnson County Community College and hosting a production of “Captured” on campus.
The students had a lot of fun while watching the Taj Express performance and at times they even got up and danced while they were cheering the performers on.
Janie Morgan the Dance Professor said: “I think it’s important for the students to see good quality of work so every semester I take them to see some kind of show and this year we came to see Taj Express which is a Bollywood Show and something different than they’ve ever seen before.”
Valley alumna Charlique Rolle, who graduated from MoVal in 2012, still keeps in touch with Morgan and other professors from MoVal. Last year she produced “Captured” and she invited Morgan to go watch it in Chicago.
However, Morgan couldn’t attend and Rolle suggested that maybe she could bring her work to MoVal, giving students the opportunity to see it and participate in it.
“Prelude” is the piece that Rolle choreographed for the students. She created this to be an introduction to “Captured.” She met up with the dancers and they all spent a moment where they shared their own stories. Based on what they shared, Rolle would give the dancers space to tell those stories. It took them three days to finish it all therefore it was really intense.
The Repertory Dance Ensemble has worked with guest choreographers before, but tying emotions into a piece where they collaborate with a guest choreographer is rare since most choreographers come with something that’s already set.
This was very hard on the dancers parts because they allowed themselves to become vulnerable in a very short amount of time. Once they passed that phase the dancers integrated the movement and tied it to their own stories.
It was difficult for the dancers because they are used to performing stories that other people already have set for them. Working with Rolle allowed them to have the opportunity to make something theirs.
“As a group they have bonded in a deeper way because as a group they have shared in such an open way with each other,” Rolle said.
Rolle loves MoVal and is very grateful for the time that she has spent their. She is so thankful for the experiences and opportunities that she’s had not only as an individual but also as a student.
“I love the faculty and what they represent and who they are and how they challenge students,” Rolle said.
MoVal has a small program in the fine arts department. Rolle appreciates that she just wasn’t focused on dance in her time at MoVal. She was involved in music, theater, and dance. She had the opportunity to do that because their was space available due to the face that is a small program.
Dashonda Johnson was one of the dancers that worked with Rolle. Johnson believes that working with Rolle has been such a fulfilling experience because she has learned a lot and not only just through dance but also about life.
During the preparations, students had to write down things that have impacted them and that have highly affected them. Johnson said things out loud that she had never said before and she began to cry, however she felt like it was ok to say it in front of them.
“It was just nice to share that with the people around me and I knew I was in a safe place to say it,” Johnson said.
Cheyla Stephenson was also a part of Rolle’s choreographed piece. She thinks it was an amazing experience and she believes that it allowed her to find herself and figure things out about herself that she didn’t know.
Stephenson said she believes that Rolle’s philosophy about how she produced everything was very interesting and made her feel worthy.
Something that was difficult for Stephenson was putting the words that she wrote down into action. She came to the realization that she hadn’t officially gotten over the fact that whatever she wrote down in that piece of paper had happened and she found herself still being captured in it.
“It was really hard to open up and be vulnerable because I’m not a vulnerable person and it did pull something out of me that I didn’t know was still inside of me,” Stephenson said.
Morgan said it is very important for students to see different performances and get a different understanding from different choreographers to give them a more complete view of the dance world.