The student news site of Hamline University.

The Oracle

The student news site of Hamline University.

The Oracle

The student news site of Hamline University.

The Oracle


Sneak peek into the Dance Ensemble’s performances

  This article was previously published in print on Dec. 05, 2023.  

As the fall semester ends, the Hamline Dance Ensemble gets a chance to display the dances they have spent the previous three months working on. On Dec. 1, the ensemble hosted their Work in Progress (WIP) show at Anne Simley Theatre, a show that lasted an hour and hosted five choreographed pieces. 

A crucial part of this show is the chance for audience feedback. In the show’s program, audience members had the opportunity to write how they felt about the performances–no matter their level of dance experience or their qualifications. 

“I think that as lovely as it is to have a nice tight-knit community, which is definitely dance ensemble,” junior Eden Fahy said, “We’re all together. We’re all making things. And we’re all very close. And it’s lovely, but it also kind of creates a feedback loop sometimes, when it comes to just our creativity and what we create and how we create it.” 

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This particular feedback session gives dancers a non-technical conversation about their work. Fahy had joined the Dance Ensemble during their first year at Hamline with no prior dance experience, meaning that they particularly value the opinions of those with little to no dance experience or knowledge. They enjoy hearing how the audience members feel about the piece and the storyline, without worrying about the more technical aspects, such as the facial expressions of the dancers or the positioning of their feet. 

The dancers have been meeting since the 2nd week of school, but only started dancing mid-Sept, giving them just over two months to begin choreographing and practicing three new pieces. Which include Soraya Dorvilier’s “Jailbreak”, senior Carmen Garcia’s “Are You Where You Have Been” and the new artistic director Jennifer Glaws’s “Everyone, Everywhere, Everything.” 

One of the performers in Dorvilier’s “Jailbreak” is junior and first-year dance ensemble member Emmett Frett. For Frett, this is a new experience. Despite growing up on the stage, both participating in Musical Theatre and Ballroom dancing, this is his first time participating in something similar to the dance ensemble. 

“This is the first time I’ve learned and then performed just dance, you know?” Frett said, “So that’s really exciting, and the other thing is, I’m just really excited about the piece I’m in specifically because I’m only in one piece this semester.” 

Frett is one of eleven dancers featured in Jailbreak, a hip-hop dance featuring music from Beyonce and Busta Rhymes mastered by Minnesota-based DJ, DJ ENL. This piece began the show, creating a fun and energized presence that drew in audience members. 

Not only has this piece been exciting for Frett to perform and learn, but it has helped him grow as a dancer and become more comfortable with the movement of his body. The Dance Ensemble encourages and provides a space for dancers to grow and learn without judgment. 

“Even like dancing in a club or something like that, where that’s the expectation. I think it was just really wonderful to have that sort of expression and be expected and okay,” Frett said. 

For past Dance Ensemble members, this previous semester has been a change of pace due to the change in artistic directors, as Jennifer Glaws has been Kaori Kenmostu’s substitute while she spends the first semester on sabbatical. Since the two directors have very different stylistic approaches to dance, it has been a rocky road to acclimate, leaving students yearning for Kenmostu’s return while also being grateful for the time they have spent with Glaws.

“I’m waiting for Koari to be here,” junior Dance Ensemble member Funsho Salako said, “With Jennifer, it’s been okay, nothing too crazy, I just miss Kaori, and I feel like [dance is] more homey, and welcoming, but for Jennifer, we’re more on edge with her.” 

Although Kenmostu is returning next semester, Glaws will still assist the ensemble. Glaws is currently choreographing her own piece, featuring several Dance Ensemble members which is a modern dance that focuses on the connection between the dancers. 

However, not only do the artistic directors and guest artists have the chance to choreograph pieces–but students have the chance to as well. Fahy is one of the few students producing pieces this semester. Their dance titled “Tall Child” is one of the two pieces being brought over from previous years, featuring movers junior Sydney Haedrich and Carmen Garcia.

“If you had told me my freshman year that I had choreographed a piece successfully, I would not believe you,” Fahy said, “But working Kaori was super beneficial and just kind of opened my mind to what dance can be.” 

“Tall Child” has been in the works for over two years, a dance that Fahy and the rest of the dance ensemble are hoping to bring to the American College Dance Association competition in the spring. As Fahy now has the choreography down, these next few months will be focused on polishing up the piece to prepare it for this important competition.  

“I’m just excited for that piece to be watching, seeing how it progressed from last year to now and it hopefully going to competition–most like will–but that is one of my favorite pieces to watch,” Salako said. 

Dance Ensemble members encourage anyone and everyone to get involved, no matter the level of dance experience one may have. As the second semester rolls around, students can email Kenmostu at for more information on how to join. 

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