Following last year’s record-setting production, the Koshare Dance Collective performed for its third year at the Smith Opera House on Seneca Street in Geneva. This year’s event, which showcased more than 130 dancers in pieces choreographed by 24 HWS students, took place on Friday, Nov. 20 and Saturday, Nov. 21.
“Every year, the choreography and performances as a whole are a bit higher in artistic quality than the year before,” said Professor of Dance and Coordinator of the Social Justice Studies Program Donna Davenport, who is the Koshare Faculty Adviser. “This year is no exception. The students challenge and support each other to produce the best work possible in the few weeks they have to make it all happen.”
Each night’s production featured choreographed dances ranging in style from hip-hop and ballet to modern, step, African and more. All of the dances were performed and choreographed by HWS students.
All proceeds benefit the Smith Opera House and will provide production funds for next year’s Koshare concert. Throughout the week leading up to the performances, members of Koshare also tabled and gave out free tickets to students in the Scandling Campus Center.
Ingrid Dehler-Seter ’16, a Koshare co-president who serves alongside Tanina Urbanski ’17 and Bridget Nishimura ’17, said the club is all-inclusive and fosters creativity, leadership and artistic expression. She said through her involvement she’s been able to see the creative visions of choreographers come to life on stage through movement, music, lights and costumes.
“This year, I have choreographed a piece with six other dancers for the Koshare performance,” said Dehler-Seter, who is both a choreographer and dancer. “Throughout this semester we collaborated with one another as well as with a live musician on developing a composition that highlights new movement vocabulary and concepts. My choreographic process has been enriching and helpful in providing me with an insight on the collective experience of working with both musicians and dancers.”
Chiara Favaloro ’16 said being able to perform and seeing “the many supportive students, faculty and community members watching us dance” makes the significant commitment of time and energy required for Koshare all worth it.
“It’s great to be able to share what we have been working so hard on all semester with our friends and family,” said Favaloro, a choreographer and dancer who serves on the Koshare Board as the costume consultant. “Koshare is a celebration of dance in all its forms, and the inclusivity and diversity are what make it so enjoyable to be a part of.”
Bridget Nishimura ’17 said that Koshare was one of the first things she heard about during her campus tour as a prospective student. Once she arrived at HWS as a student, she said her involvement with Koshare grew to become an important part of her HWS experience.
“To me, Koshare means inclusion,” Nishimura said. “It is a place where I feel respected, loved and comfortable to be myself. I have made friendships that will last a lifetime, and I quite honestly don’t know where I would be without them. We, as a club, pride ourselves on casting everyone who auditions in September, and every single member works tirelessly to put on an amazing show at the end of November. Koshare is a group effort; each person being crucially important in creating the community that we all know and love, Koshare Dance Collective.”
A student-run organization, Koshare welcomes all students to consider participating in the club, regardless of one’s level of dance experience.
Last year’s Koshare production had a monumental weekend with the most student contributors and largest attendance in the program’s history. The performances drew nearly 1,800 attendees to its Friday and Saturday shows, which were held at the Smith. Davenport says the program has grown significantly in recent years, going from a 500-person audience on campus to a packed theatre at the Smith Opera House.