Goucher Dance: How Dancers Tackle a Particularly Challenging Performance

Article by: Harmony Jackson

This weekend is the Goucher Repertory Dance Ensemble performance which will include four pieces choreographed by both faculty and guest artists; Faultline, The Rapture, Race, and Prayers. It is an exciting time for dancers because this means that their semester-long work will finally be presented to the public. For some, this is an emotional time since it will be their last Goucher Dance Concert. Whether a senior or freshman, all students have dedicated both their time and talent to producing a successful show but only a few have been able to handle the rigor of dancing in three out of the four pieces! Michayla Kelly, Marissa Hamby and Clare Kresse are some of these few and they will be sharing their experiences with us.


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Marissa Hamby, Freshman

Dance and Biochemistry Major


Out of the three, what is your favorite piece to perform and why?

My favorite piece to perform is Adam Hougland’s “Faultlines” because it’s contemporary ballet and I was able to be a part of the choreographic process from the beginning, so myself and a lot of the other dancers had a say in what the dance looked like and we made it our own. Doing contemporary ballet on pointe is very challenging, but it’s also very fun, so I like giving myself that challenge.”


What was is like working with Adam?

It was difficult. He would give us some sort of idea of what he wanted and then just say “do that” or give us freedom of artistic expression and then choose what he liked best so it was hard, I had to be very creative and independent.”


What do you think the dance is about and how does that inform your performance?

Um, I don’t know. The biggest thing I think while I’m performing is just power and there is a lot of fragility because we are on pointe, it’s very precarious and we could fall over at any moment, but we are still powerful.”

Fun Fact: Marissa was born on an American base in Iceland


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Michayla Kelly, Senior

Dance and Math Major


Including student works, how many rehearsals do you have a week?

“Well, on Sundays I have rehearsal for Victoria’s independent piece. On Monday’s I have rehearsal for Jamie’s piece, for her senior independent. On Tuesday’s I had rehearsal for “Prayers” and “Faultlines”, and on Thursdays, I have rehearsal for “The Rapture” and then Victoria’s again and on Friday I have rehearsal for “The Rapture” as well. There were also some Saturday rehearsals to make up for lost time.”

In total, Michayla spends about 13 hours a week in rehearsals.

Fun Fact: Her paper “The Fundamental Shared Essence of Dance and Mathematics,” recently won the Julia Rogers Prize.


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Clare Kresse, Sophmore

Dance Major and Environmental Studies Minor



How will you handle dancing in three pieces in a row?

“That is the question of the day… Hopefully by drinking lots of water backstage and I think eventually by the end of the week I will have stamina to get through three of them, but I don’t really know”


Why by the end of the week?

“So, we have tech rehearsals which means we will run the show every day this week until the show and today is Monday so we have 4 more full runs. They are also in order and they don’t stop so we’ll build up stamina by the end. Saturday is the only day where we have two shows so that’s the only day we’ll have two full runs. So, we actually have seven times of running the show this week!”


Have you done something like this before?

“I haven’t at Goucher, but I’ve done full-length ballets before. Those are probably like an hour and a half long but you are not on stage the whole time. This is different because the pieces are in a row and usually in ballets like Nutcracker there are young dancers in the middle to give the older dancers a break.  

            They are also not all the same type of demanding, which will be a little challenging too. What will be difficult is that they are all slightly different genres. One is very slow and grounded and then the second one I’m in is on pointe so that requires a lot of stamina and core work and then the last one is all stamina and running. That will be the hardest to save all my energy for.”


Fun Fact: Clare lived in the south of France for four years

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