Locally Grown Dance Takes a Bold Leap

American modern dancer and choreographer Martha Graham once said that “great dancers are not great because of their technique, they are great because of their passion.” While watching the Performing and Media Arts Department’s recent production of Locally Grown Dance, I experienced the dancers’ visceral joy and passion for the work they were showcasing. 

Held in the Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts’ Kiplinger Theater on March 9, 10 and 11, Locally Grown Dance featured a series of student dance performances choreographed and spatially organized by student, faculty and guest choreographers. These nine pieces were comprised of four longer performances, Ariadne’s Noose, Beautiful Monsters, Unraveling and CRICKET, that were interspersed with five shorter pieces or interludes. All of these works were supported by live and pre-recorded music, beautiful costumes, vivid lighting and scenic design. 

Although all of the performances were captivating to watch, some of the standouts of the night included Ariadne’s Noose, Beautiful Monsters, CRICKET and the interludes that introduced the audience to the atmosphere of the pieces following them. Starting off the production, Interlude No. 1 (Prelude) drew the audience into this bold world of dance.

LORENZEN | Any Person, Any Study… Except for the Performing Arts

But, when a high school applicant researches Cornell’s Performing and Media Arts Department, they first find Cornell’s history of gutting their funding. The major itself — encompassing film, theater and dance — was created after the Cornell administration slashed the department’s budget by a million dollars. Cornell took the Department of Theatre, Film and Dance and cut its budget so severely that it could not survive anymore. When I researched Cornell in high school, that is what I found. And that is why I initially didn’t see myself applying.

Inside the Cornell Dance Team

CUDT represents Cornell on a national level at competitions and events across the college dance community. We straddle the line between a dance group and a varsity sport, as we perform at varsity sporting events and represent the school nationally, but are technically registered as a student club. The team was founded in 2017 with only five dancers. Since then, CUDT has expanded to 23 members.

How COVID Changed Cornell Dance Groups

“The dances we taught had to be able to be done in a small space… It’s hard to judge a dancer on their abilities if we can’t see them fully execute a movement.”