The Weekly Ringer

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

Student and local performers grace the stage in Dodd Auditorium for Performing Arts Company’s Small Show

4 min read
Nine performers on a stage, gesturing to the right hand side of the stage

After Small Show, UMW Performing Arts Company will host Big Show from April 6-7. Abbey Magnet | The Weekly Ringer


Staff Writer

On Feb. 28, the UMW Performing Arts Company hosted Small Show in Dodd Auditorium. The show included performances from PAC dancers, UMW Symfonics, Praise Dance Club and UMW Belly Dance. Alongside student performances, local dance groups such as the Morgan Crisp Dance Company and the Take 2 Dance Company also performed. Featuring both dancing and singing, the event offered student and community performing arts organizations a chance to share their work with the rest of the community.

Madeline Brunt, the president of UMW PAC and a senior biology major, has been ecstatic in anticipation of this semester’s showing. In addition to dancing in a couple of pieces and choreographing another, Brunt also staged a ballet piece that she’s particularly excited about.

“[I’m] so excited that we finally get to have a ballet piece in Small Show because that’s my favorite style of dance,” said Brunt. 

For PAC, Small Show presents an opportunity for first-time choreographers to gain experience in the company in preparation for Big Show, which will take place from April 6–7. To have their pieces considered for Small Show, choreographers can submit a proposal piece that they feel will add diversity and stylistic variety to the show. Upon approval, they then choose from a pool of interested PAC dancers and begin rehearsing once a week. 

While only dancers from PAC who volunteer to perform in Small Show participate, every member of the company will perform in Big Show.

Margarita Korsakava, a junior business administration major and a first-time choreographer for Small Show, choreographed an Eastern European traditional dance for the show. 

“I’m from Eastern Europe, so that’s the style of dance I grew up with,” said Korsakava. “I really wanted to bring a piece of my culture to the UMW community.” 

About her experience choreographing for the first time, Korsakava said, “It’s been great. I have a really good group of dancers and they’re just such fast learners and they’re so eager to just learn anything I throw at them.” 

According to Korsakava, Small Show sets itself apart from other events that showcase student talent on campus because it is completely student-run. PAC doesn’t have a professional choreographer, although many people believe they do, so students choreograph and organize the entire show.

Both Brunt and Korsakava hope the event encourages more people to join PAC. Brunt said that she wants audience members to see how fun it is on stage and plan to audition. Korsakava said that she thinks the performance will show how diverse UMW is, as the pieces feature various backgrounds and dance styles.

“We love when people who have no experience or have a ton of experience [join] because it’s one of the best ways to learn how to dance. Just audition, join—we want anybody and everybody to join,” said Brunt.

“Honestly, don’t be scared. Come to auditions, or come talk to any of us,” said Korsakava. “I think everyone’s so supportive in the company. We just have such a good, positive vibe and are very welcoming and open to any level.”

James Holtstrom, a freshman, provided insight as a newcomer to PAC. He said that if someone is interested in joining PAC, they can test the waters by participating in PAC workshops.  

“Even if you aren’t a member of PAC, you can still come to workshops that are hosted by various members of PAC and learn a new dance style,” he said.

After attending the show, I’d say it was a success. The crowd filled Dodd Auditorium, showing their support for the performers. 

At the beginning of the show, Brunt clarified that cheering and clapping during the performances was encouraged, and the audience obliged—applauding the dancers and singers throughout the show. As promised, the performances were well performed and varied across several styles. 

The Morgan Crisp Dance Company’s performance of “In This Shirt” by The Irrepressibles was a stand-out, as well as PAC’s ballet piece titled “Le Corsaire: Pas de Trois des Odalisques.” 

Additionally, the staging was well done, and something that surprised me about the show was that I had no trouble seeing the performances—even though I sat to the side of the stage.

Otherwise, the music was a bit quiet, which hurt the presentation of the show, but the performances themselves made up for it. 

Overall, I had a great time at Small Show and look forward to Big Show later on in the semester.