Sat. Jul 13th, 2024

The lights come up, the crowd hushes and a rush of adrenaline fuels the dancers as the music begins. An instant pulse of energy radiates from the dancers to the audience and consumes the theater.

This is a kind of energy that can only be created on stage by dancers who are truly passionate about their art; it is an energy that you do not want to miss out on. West Chester University’s Dance Company (UDC) is kicking off their annual spring concert on Thursday, April 27 at 7:30 p.m. This semester’s show is titled “Serendipity,” which encourages creativity and seeing the world through a new lens.

UDC has been working hard all semester long. All of the dancers involved have poured their hearts and souls into choreographing and rehearsing for this show. “Serendipity” is primarily a concert highlighting choreography created by undergraduate students in the company, featuring pieces from seniors Akasha Alvarez, Sadie Markley, Michaela Martz, Christina Rothemich and Mary Weese.

There are also several sophomores and juniors displaying their work. These works range in style and thematic composition, pulling from the genres of contemporary, ballet, jazz and hip hop dance.

In addition to the student pieces, WCU dance faculty Gretchen Studlien-Webb and the professional guest artist, Shelley Oliver, will showcase work.

“On the Precipice,” choreographed by Studlien-Webb, the dance minor coordinator and artistic director of this concert, hopes to build awareness of the human factor and its contributions to the decline and possible extension of many animal species. Her scholarly research in the field of choreography for the past 10 years has focused on environmental sustainability, which is projected through dance in many of her pieces.

Oliver, a Canadian-born tap dancer, choreographer and educator, plays with various rhythms and syncopations in her new work titled “Undercurrents.” Her intent is a lighthearted, enjoyable work that invites the audience to enjoy the art of dance.

Oliver currently directs the Muhlenberg Jazz Tap Ensemble and provides community outreach in the Allentown area. UDC is very grateful to have her choreographing this semester.

“Serendipity” raises the curtain on Thursday, April 27 and closes it on Saturday, April 29. There are three evening shows beginning at 7:30 p.m. each night, and one matinee show on Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. Opening night on Thursday is student night. Tickets are half-off at the door with a student ID, so come out and support your friends and fellow Golden Rams.

“Serendipity” is presented by the theatre and dance department at WCU’s College of Visual and Performing Arts at Madeleine Wing Alder Theater in the Swope Music Building, located on 817 S. High St.

Tickets can be purchased prior to the show either online at http://wcupatix. com/theatre-and-dance/ or at the box office located on the ground floor of the E.O. Bull Center. Tickets will also be available for purchase before the performances at the box office outside of Madeleine Wing Alder Theater.

Come out and enjoy a night filled with dance! Support the University Dance Company, their passion for dance and their dedication for performing. There is something for everyone to enjoy, so come leave your worries at the door and get lost in a world of “Serendipity.”

Sadie Markley is a fourth-year English major with a minor in dance. She can be reached at

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