Arts & Living
Letters & Commentary
On The Spot
Week In Photos
To the Editor
UNH Commuter Connection
The Clock (PSU)
The Equinox (KSC)
TNH Archive (1/97 - 5/03)
Student-run dance troop starts strong
By Cara Splisbury
Friday, December 10, 2004
Dance choreography has always been a passion for senior theatre major Sarah Duclos. "I love dance, that much has always been evident," Duclos said. "But when I started to choreograph, it was like I could take a piece of an art form that I loved so much and make it my own."
While attending dance classes in the Department of Theatre and Dance, Duclos began to feel the constraints having only one student choreography showcase per semester, and the restrictions placed on students due to too many dance students within one class, the amount of dance numbers within a show, and the time constraints on the show.
Instead of complaining, Duclos took matters into her own hands by creating her very own dance company, dubbed the Neoteric Dance Collaborative (NDC).
"I had been thinking for a long time, 'how great would it be to put together an ensemble specifically to be guinea pigs for young or unknown choreographers trying to get their feet wet?'" Duclos said.
For her dance company, Duclos chose the name "neoteric," which means "one of modern times." The name seems fitting for a modern dance company with choreography completely created by Duclos and the UNH dancers she hand-picked. They rehearse an average of four hours every Sunday and hope to satisfy an artistic need for dancers and choreographers that can't be met by the program at UNH.
Duclos approached dancers with the quality of movement that she thought was conducive to her choreography and ended up with 15 talented artists from all different backgrounds. She mostly searched for dancers with an extensive ballet experience.
"I look for dancers that are versatile but have a strong ballet foundation," she said. "My philosophy is if you can do ballet, you can do anything."
Ballet was also the stepping stone for Duclos; the Seacoast region native started dancing locally. She began her training with the School of Ballet New England and the recently closed Ballet Theatre Workshop (BTW), both well-respected Portsmouth area dance studios.
She was a company member in the Children's Repertory Ballet, a pre-professional company associated with BTW. With the company, she performed in numerous classical and contemporary works and was often a featured soloist. She also participated in their community outreach programs, bringing dance to young kids and the elderly community around the Seacoast.
Currently, she's finishing up her dual emphasis theatre major in musical theater and dance. She teaches at Fusion Dance Academy in Dover and has also taught for Arts Rochester and BTW. In her many years of training, she's developed her own individual style that her dancers love and respect.
Kate Genovese, a junior, has danced for the UNH Dance Company for two years but is thrilled to be a part of this new experience with Duclos.
"Her choreography is so strong and personal," Genovese said. "It's different from how I've danced before, and it's really great to watch the growth of Sarah and her choreography as well the growth of all of the dancers."
Genovese is also impressed by the level of commitment and quality that exists in the company.
"This isn't just a bunch of dancers coming and goofing off," Genovese said. "Everyone is so professional and dedicated. We all work so well together."
The company is rehearsing to achieve a repertoire of the Duclos' five previously choreographed dances. One dance they've almost completely mastered in their few weeks together is "Pop Tart Tonic," a conceptual dance about four women growing up and moving on together. She originally choreographed it for her last performance at BTW with her three best friends. The dancers perform to the melodic voice of Tori Amos backed by a rhythm and techno beat, a sound you wouldn't expect in a ballet.
Another dance the company plans to performing is "Behind the Wall," a piece choreographed in 2002 by UNH and dance company alumna Britney Lynch. It's an expressive piece that tells the story of an abused woman, danced in three parts to the singing of Tracy Chapman.
Other choreographers are also welcomed by Duclos to experiment different choreographed steps with the dancers. Joe Meallo, a junior musical theatre and dance major, just started working on a number called "Amy's Wall" with nine of the women in the ensemble. Set to "Amie" by Damien Rice, the piece began humbly with a video camera, the music and the improvisational talents of the dancers.
Before all of the creating and rehearsing could begin, Duclos had to work hard behind the scenes to iron out the logistics of taking on such an endeavor.
"I did an incredible amount of very boring reading on the correct steps to start a business," she explained. She still has a little bit of school left, so she didn't want to go through the mess of making NDC a non-profit organization and putting together a board of directors. Instead, NDC is classified as a small business, and Duclos is the sole proprietor.
"The first thing that I had to do was get an address of my own," Duclos said. "Since I don't have a studio, I got a P.O. box. Then I registered NDC with the State of New Hampshire."
The next challenge came because she lacked of a studio. For now, the NDC is comfortable using studio space on campus in New Hampshire Hall every Sunday for a few hours.
They are preparing for their first series of performances on Feb. 25, 26 and 27 at the Exeter Town Hall. Duclos also hopes to schedule two more shows before graduation and plans to have NDC participate in Dance Rochester, the annual dance festival put on by Arts Rochester.
Although February is far away, there is still a lot of work to be done.
"The next few months will be intense!" Duclos exclaimed.
For more information about NDC, visit their new Web site at www.neodance.org.
National College Advertising and Marketing
How did you fare on your midterms?
I think I passed.
I knew I forgot to do something.