Companydance 2019-20 Audition Information & Form Link

About Companydance

Happy 50th Anniversary to the St. Olaf dance companies and 40th Anniversary to the St. Olaf Dance Department Program! Stay tuned for celebratory programming this year!

Monday, September 9 at 3:30 p.m.
Wagner Bundgaard Studio One, Center for Art and Dance

Tuesday, September 10 at 4:00 p.m.
Wagner Bundgaard Studio One, Center for Art and Dance

If you have a conflict with your scheduled audition day, you may attend the other audition day.

Companydance is a faculty-directed student dance company comprised of several separate projects and pieces, including First Year Dance Project, Senior Dance Capstone Concert, and Companydance Spring Concert (faculty, guest artist, and student choreographed dances). Companydance’s primary aesthetic is grounded in the modern dance tradition but is by no means restricted to it.
Companydance is open by audition to all students, with projects and pieces that offer student dancers a wide variety of performing opportunities.
All students selected for Companydance will be automatically enrolled in the no credit course Dance 180: Companydance, which will show on student transcripts or degree audits.

Read carefully through all of the information below before filling out the audition form. The dance department wants you to be clear about your participation opportunities and understand your participation responsibilities in Companydance before auditioning.

The audition form is located at the bottom of this webpage. The form is due Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019, at 11:00 p.m.

Companydance Requirements

As with any requirement and expectation in life and dance, rare exceptions should be allowed in case an emergency situation arises. Rare exceptions to the Companydance requirements must be requested by the student ASAP and will be considered on a case by case basis. Note: not all exception requests will be granted.

Movement Intensive Dance Class Enrollment

  1. You must be enrolled in a movement intensive dance class during each term of your participation in Companydance. This requirement is in place to help maintain the health, promote the growth, and encourage the optimum participation, comfort, confidence, and productivity of each student dancer during the rehearsal and performance process of Companydance.
  2. If you are not currently enrolled in a movement intensive dance class, please consult the class & lab to see which courses may fit with your current schedule. Realize that it may be necessary to shift your current schedule to make room for a movement intensive dance class, if possible. Then, consult with dance faculty to add the class.

Attendance & Participation

  1. You must be on time for, fully present, and ready to participate in every rehearsal.
  2. Make yourself available for all scheduled rehearsals, realizing that some rehearsals may conflict with your desire to leave early for holiday breaks. Communicate your Companydance schedule to your family ASAP to avoid missing rehearsals due to uninformed travel arrangements.
  3. Inform the choreographer(s) and rehearsal director(s) of each project you are involved in ASAP in the event that an unexpected and immovable conflict should arise.
  4. Check the online Companydance/FYDP and dance events calendars regularly, as well as stay abreast of all changes made to the calendar/s.
  5. Check e-mail on a daily basis respond to Companydance related communication immediately.
  6. Sign up for a costume fitting as soon as you are requested to do so.

Companydance Meetings

Companydance students are required to attend all Companydance meetings, unless you have a regularly scheduled conflict with a St. Olaf organization, such as choir or student work. Rare exceptions to this Companydance requirement must be requested by the student ASAP and will be considered on a case by case basis. Note: not all exception requests will be approved.

  • Fri. Sept. 13th 3:30-4:30pm S1
  • Fri. Oct. 18th 4-5pm S2
  • Fri. Nov. 15th 3:30-4:30pm S1
  • Fri. Feb. 14th 3:30-4:30pm S2
  • Fri. March 6 3:30-4:15pm S2
  • Fri. April 17th 3:30-4:15pm S2

Service Hours Commitment

In the professional dance community, behind the scenes help and support is needed to create and present dance. This is true as well for the St. Olaf Dance Community. There are various performances, special events, and workshops held during the year in which we need help and support. Without your help, we would not be able to provide all the exciting events in dance. We are requiring these service hours of all members of Companydance.
Read Companydance Service Hours.

Companydance Casting

It is the Dance Department’s desire to welcome, include and encourage every student who wishes to participate in our classes, companies, and dance major. We make a fervent effort to model this philosophy when casting students for dance projects. The department considers a number of factors during the process including:

  • the student’s previous college-wide curricular and co-curricular experiences, including the ability to fulfill commitments and to work responsibly and diligently, both independently and in a group environment
  • the student’s previous Companydance experiences, in order to try to provide each student with opportunities for growth and development
  • the number and types of dancers required for each project
  • the student’s dancing ability

Students are eligible to be cast in a maximum of three (3) Companydance projects/pieces. You are able to select the exact number of projects (1 to 3) in which you would like to be cast. This number usually depends upon your anticipated academic load and other co-curricular activities involvement. Understand that as a member of Companydance you are also expected to maintain your rigorous academic schedule, honor your other co-curricular activities, and allow for as much personal time as you need in order to remain a healthy, contributing member of this college and dance community. You are encouraged to select all the piece(s)/project(s) that you are interested in, that will challenge you, that you have not yet experienced, and to which you are able to fully commit. To enhance your opportunity for involvement in Companydance make sure your schedule is clear during the rehearsal times of as many projects as possible. Dance majors are expected to self-select participation in a wide variety of Companydance experiences, including a diverse range of faculty, guest artist, and student works.

Companydance Projects/Pieces

There are 9 Companydance project/pieces and one additional performance opportunity (doesn’t count as a project) to choose from this year! Read about each one and use this information in your decision-making process.

A – First-Year Dance Project (FYDP)

  • Directed by Heather Klopchin
  • Dancers who are new to the College or Companydance have the opportunity to work in a company setting with each Dance Department faculty in the span of one academic year. A range of movement aesthetics, styles and philosophies will be explored. The project results in an end of the academic year concert.
  • This is required of all first-year students in Companydance & highly recommended for first-time participants of Companydance.
  • First Year Dance Project rehearses the entire year (FYDP does not formally rehearse during Interim term).
  • Rehearsal schedule beginning Tuesday, 9/17: Tuesdays: 3:00-5:00 p.m. and Thursdays: 3:45-5:45 p.m.
  • Performances / Events
    • First Glimpse – Friday, October 4, 4:00 p.m.
    • First Year Dance Project and More! Concert – Friday, April 24, 2020, 4:00 p.m. Dress rehearsal for this performance is Thursday, April 23rd, 3:45-9:00 p.m.
    • Additional showing opportunities are possible throughout the year and will be planned in consultation with cast members.

B – Senior Dance Capstone Concert Choreography Projects

  • Directed by the senior dance majors selecting choreography as their senior dance capstone project option.
  • Regular Weekly Rehearsal Schedule: Each senior dance project rehearses separately, twice each week, once for a 90-minute block of time between 5:00-11:00 p.m. M-F and once for a two-hour block of time on Saturday or Sunday.
  • Additional weeknight and weekend rehearsals beginning Friday, 12/6 and running through the Senior Dance Project Performances.
  • Performances: Senior Dance Concert (Tuesday, 12/10 and Wednesday, 12/11 at 7:30 p.m. in Kelsey Theater).
  • If you are in Christmas Festival, you are able to perform in the Senior Dance Concert. Note that a keen awareness to schedule and open, clear, and timely communication between you and your senior choreographer are imperative!
  • By selecting the Senior Dance Concert projects as one or more of your project options, you will be considered for all of the Senior Dance Concert projects. You are not able to indicate your interest in participation for individual senior dance projects.

Senior Dance Capstone Project Descriptions

Yael Estrada-Nava

I will be exploring the idea of assimilation as opposed to the amalgamation of cultures. Due to an inherent belief that our background must be our defining characteristic, we believe any meandering from it will cause others to react negatively. Attempting to fall away from this norm, in hopes of avoiding those negative consequences, I will explore the contrasting ideas of unity vs disarray and collectivism vs individualism and try to answer a few important questions. How do we move beyond our cultural/social/economic differences to find what makes ourselves inherently human? To what extent does our cultural background exclude/include others and what are the negative impacts of identity politics?

Michelle Honsey

I am exploring how time relates to labor and thinking about how much time people spend working and finding purpose through labor. Ultimately, how does work contribute/or not contribute to a fulfilling existence and how that compares to societal views of labor. Since my piece focuses on time, it will have many fast, up pace movement phrases. I am looking for 7 or more dancers who are familiar with technical dance terms and have strong performance skills. Dancers in my piece will be collaborating with students from my dance studio for some sections of my project. Rehearsals for this project will be on Tuesday, Thursday, Sunday (2 of the 3) evenings.

Ella Schmeits

I will be choreographing a piece that centers around two major concepts. In terms of content, my piece will pay homage to LGBTQ+ history & historical events by exploring related themes such as survival, fatigue, the relentless nature of oppression, and care within a community. In terms of quality of movement, my choreography is inspired by density of language (like you might find in a very wordy run-on sentence). This will translate into dense, technical choreography based in modern technique. I am excited to play with contrasts in movement dynamics, weight sharing and the connection between dancers, and how dizzy you can get while performing a phrase. I am looking for 5-9 dancers with strong modern dance backgrounds who are committed to learning complex movement and are comfortable dancing in a piece that deals with LGBTQ+ issues.

C-H – Companydance Spring Concert Projects

  • Companydance Spring Concert 2020 is co-directed by Anthony Roberts and Arneshia Williams
  • Companydance Spring Concert pieces rehearse the entire year and have additional weeknight and weekend rehearsals beginning Friday, 4/26/2020 and running through the Companydance Spring Concert performances on May 7, 8 and 9, 2020 at 7:30 p.m.
  • Performances / Events
    • First Glimpse – Friday, October 4, 4:00 p.m.
    • 2020 Companydance Spring Concert -May 7, 8 and 9, 2020 at 7:30 p.m.
    • Additional showing opportunities are possible throughout the year and will be planned in consultation with cast members.

C – Heather Klopchin’s Project

  • Directed by Heather Klopchin
  • I will be remounting/reworking my modern dance work “On the Other Side” from the Companydance Spring Concert 2018. The work is based on the idea of repetition in which the dance always moves from stage left to stage right. It is an athletic, aerobic work that involves phrases moving into and out of the floor as well as traveling phrases involving jumping and turning. I am looking for up to 9 dancers. I would love it to be a combination of dancers who were originally part of the work and new dancers.
  • My creative process: Much of the work will be reconstructed from video but I don’t simply want to do a move for move remounting of the piece.  There will be room for dancers to contribute phrase work. I will act as the director making final decisions about the structure of the piece. I will credit both the original cast and the new cast for their contributions to the piece in the program. 
  • Regular weekly rehearsal schedule beginning Wednesday, 9/18 and continuing through the May 2020 performances: Wednesdays 7-9pm in CAD Studio 1.
    • Not planning to rehearse during January

D – Anthony Roberts’ Project

  • Directed by Anthony Roberts
  • NOTE: This piece will be performed at the ACDA 2020 conference, which is from Sat. March 14 through Tues. March 17, 2020 (the week before our spring break) at Iowa State University (less than 3 hours away). Dancers cast in this work need to commit to attending ACDA 2020.
    • 2020 ACDA North-Central Conference Website
    • The ACDA 2020 conference is Sat. March 14 through Tues. March 17, 2020 (the week before our spring break) at Iowa State University. We will tentatively leave early on Sat. March 14th and return late on Tues. March 17 (missing only 2 days of classes). The cost estimate for each student is between $325 and $450. This pays for conference fees, transportation, and housing. There will be scholarships available to help students attend the conference and preference is given to students performing at the conference.At ACDA, you will get to take classes in different styles from faculty at institutions from around the region, see lots of interesting dance performances by other colleges and universities, and have 2 works (mine and one student work) from St. Olaf perform and receive feedback. You also get to bond with St. Olaf dancers and network with dancers from lots of other schools.While March 2020 may seem like a long way off, the department needs to send registration information to ACDA by the end of September 2019, so it would be best if know whether or not you are able to attend ACDA at the Companydance auditions.
  • I plan to create a new modern dance work that encourages and provides an opportunity for dancers to experience and express a range of movement qualities and sensations that will collide and mesh into a satisfying and intriguing whole that incites, ignites and inspires curiosity and rekindles connections by and among the viewers. Currently, there is no one explicit narrative driving the work. I also plan to use long folding tables and chairs as set pieces, props, and dancing surfaces for dancers to creatively and unabashedly explore. Expect to be challenged physically, intellectually, and emotionally and have fun along the way.
  • My creative process:
    • I typically live in the creative process throughout the entire rehearsal process, continuing to ask what if? and pursuing as many creative possibilities as time permits.
    • I will create and teach movement material to, and work with, dancers to further develop the material, discover and shape its intention, interpretation, and expression.
    • I will encourage and facilitate the creation of movement by the dancers and oversee its development and performance.
    • I will invite, encourage, and thoughtfully consider input from the dancers on the micro and macro aspects of the piece, and we will explore the input as appropriate and possible.
    • In the end, I will ultimately make final decisions concerning the minute and global direction of the piece. Some of the creative input from the dancers (and myself) will be included in the final piece and some will not.
  • I am looking for dancers:
    • Of any number.
    • Of all abilities and experiences, from ‘have never danced’ to ‘have never not danced.’
    • Who are
      • open and willing to reach beyond their comfort zones as movers/technicians and performers.
      • comfortable or can become comfortable with movement improvisation and experimentation, appropriate touch
      • or can become comfortable with constant change, be patiently and persistently curious to discover more, revel in and understand the creative process as an exciting, often uncertain, journey
      • willing to consistently work to remember, refine, improve, and deepen their physical, intellectual, and emotional abilities with and understanding of the dance.
  • Regular weekly rehearsal schedule beginning Thursday, 9/13 and continuing through the May 2020 performances: Tuesdays: 3:00-5:00 p.m. and Thursdays: 3:45-5:45 p.m. in CAD Studio 3.
    • During Interim, students who are on campus will rehearse one day each week.

E – Arneshia Williams’ Project

  • Directed by Arneshia Williams
  • I will be creating a new contemporary dance work heavily influenced by African Diasporic practices. I am looking for 3-10 dancers.
  • What qualities are you looking for in dancers/performers?
    • Trust my lead and facilitation
    • Know it’s going to be a work in progress until it’s a “thing” and even the “thing” will be a process
    • Accept ever-shifting changes
    • Accept and process corrections
    • Practice good studentship – here to learn and train
    • Be held accountable
  • The process will include use of the voice and writing and will purposefully include structures that use:
    • uncomfortability – kinesthetic, somatic, and intra and interpersonal spaces – frustration, group, and individual awareness
    • Examining text, writing, and deep conversations connected to identity
    • Rigorous training as well as structured improvisation
    • Touch
    • Training sessions
    • I may ask dancers to collaborate in the piece as movement generators. If so, a note will be in the final program.
  • Regular weekly rehearsal schedule beginning Monday, 9/16 and continuing through May 2020: Mondays 3:45-6:45pm and Wednesdays from 3:45-4:45pm in CAD Studio 1.
    • Not planning to rehearse during Interim

F – Karla Grotting’s Project

  • Directed by Guest Artist, Karla Grotting
  • I will be creating a new tap/jazz/groove-based work. I am looking to work with approximately 6 dancers with some jazz and tap dance experience.
  • Regular weekly rehearsal schedule beginning Monday, 9/16 and continuing through the May 2020 performances: Mondays and Wednesdays from 3:45-5:45pm in CAD Studio 2.
    • Not planning to rehearse during Interim

G – Erin Scheiwe Rockwell’s Project

  • Directed by Guest Artist & Ole Alum, Erin Scheiwe Rockwell ’01
  • Guest Artist, St. Olaf dance alum, and Dance professor at Belhaven University, Erin Rockell will be restaging her multimedia, modern dance work Imag[(I)n]e that was selected for performance at the American College Dance Association National Festival at the Kennedy Center in 2018. Imag[(I)n]e was a year-long collaborative investigation of what it means to be created in the image of God.  Through research, dialogue, reflective writing, movement investigation, costume invention, creative technology maneuvering, and pure imagination this piece unfolded, revealing a reservoir of God’s creativity that can seep through our fragile human form. The piece begins with a movement narrator guiding the audience into a world of pure imagination and strives to challenge expectation, perspective, and innovation.  After a visual display of surprising events that have been described as magical, the piece voices a deeper meaning through physical movement interwoven with text drawn from cast and choreographer’s written responses to prompts given throughout the process. Erin is looking to cast 13 dancers. One dancer must be a skilled camera operator. 
  • Erin’s Creative process: When working with the original cast, the whole piece (set over a full 9 months with a formal work in progress performance) was highly collaborative.  The dancers generated a good amount of the movement material, ideas, and interactions. We collectively did a lot of research, writing, improvisation, exploration, etc.  This piece would not be the same in the slightest without the specific dancers used. This process allowed the dancers to take deep ownership of the piece, which is something I would love to cultivate again with St. Olaf performers.  However, the process for resetting this piece in a short amount of time will have to be very different. Much of the movement material will need to remain the same or similar and likely learned from video and from group rediscovery. Some sections may adjust to the specific dancer and others may be able to be originally built with the new performers. I think this is going to be the biggest challenge to me and the cast: to build the authenticity and ownership while having to deal with the logistics of costumes and technology (which eats up time like crazy) in a relatively short amount of time.  
  • Casting preference is given to officially declared dance majors. Due to the intensity and pace of the rehearsal schedule, current first-year students will not be considered for this project. Dancers should be open to exploration and willing to try things outside their previous experience, corporative/collaborative, thoughtful, real/authentic movers (physically expressive without being overly dramatic), calm under pressure, and people who love art, dance, and imagination.  
  • Rehearsal schedule in CAD Studio 2:
    • Daily intensive rehearsals from Feb. 7-13th from approx. 3:30pm until 9pm
    • Weekend days (Feb. 8 & 9) from 1-5pm plus if available dinner with Erin, the cast, dance majors, and dance faculty and staff at Heather Klopchin’s house on Saturday, Feb. 8th at 6pm
    • Weekly upkeep rehearsals:
      • one 2-hour rehearsal each week to be determined based on the students’ schedules selected (most likely Mondays or Wednesdays from 7-9pm starting soon after Feb. 14th and continuing through the May 2020 performances. Heather Klopchin will be the rehearsal director for this project.

H – Stuart Pimsler Dance and Theater’s  Project

  • Stuart Pimsler Dance and Theater will be performing at St. Olaf early in the Fall semester on Saturday, Sept. 28th and they need guest performers for the show.
  • Rehearsals will be:
    • Mon. Sept. 23 3:45-5:45pm
    • Tues. Sept. 24 3-5pm
    • Wed. Sept. 25 3:45-5:45pm
    • Thurs. Sept. 26 3:45-5:45pm
    • Fri. Sept. 27 3:45-5:45pm, 6:30-9:30pm
    • Sat. Sept. 28 (performance day) Be available from 9am until the performance ending at 9pm; (Schedule will be finalized for this day soon)
    • Not counted as a project – 9/23 – 9/28 only

Companydance Rehearsal Schedule Conflicts

Below is the list of Companydance rehearsal schedule conflicts. Obviously, you are able to participate in only one of the pieces/projects with overlapping schedules. It is imperative that you are familiar with these conflicts when selecting the projects you would like to participate in. You are encouraged to numerically prioritize your choices whenever possible to enable the faculty to be as fully aware of your selection preferences as possible. If you do not have a preference, you can indicate this by giving two or more projects the same numeric priority. Please keep in mind that your selection preference is one of several factors influencing your casting in Companydance.

  • First Year students will not be considered for Erin Scheiwe Rockwell’s Project.
  • Overlapping MW rehearsal schedules: Karla Grotting’s Project, Arneshia Williams’ Project
  • Overlapping TTh rehearsal schedules: First Year Dance Project, Anthony Roberts’ Project

Companydance Audition Form

Only after you have carefully read and understand the information included above, proceed to fill out the audition form.

  1. You must be logged into your St. Olaf email account to open the form.
  2. Be sure to click “submit” at the bottom of the form after you have filled it out.
  3. After clicking “submit”, a window will appear that reads, “Your response has been recorded.”
  4. In this same window, you will have the opportunity to edit your response by clicking the “Edit your response” link.
  5. Once you leave or close the form window, you cannot make additional changes.
  6. If you have difficulty completing the form, please contact Anthony Roberts, Dance Faculty and Stephen Schroeder, Dance Technical Director.
  7. Form due: Sunday, September 8, 2019 @ 11:00PM.