The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Colgate Ballet Company Creates a Relaxed Yet Concentrated Atmosphere

Instagram / @colgateballetco

The Colgate Ballet Company is a student-run organization at Colgate University that choreographs, rehearses and perfects ballet dances for the Colgate community. While the ballet community is usually very rigid and has extremely high expectations, the Colgate Ballet Company is more relaxed and welcoming.

 The company is open to dancers of all levels, but many members have been dancing for their entire lives. Junior member Natalia Legname knew that she wanted to join the Ballet Company to further her artistic passion during her time at Colgate.

“Ballet was always a big part of my life growing up and I wanted to continue to pursue my love for dance while in college,” Legname said. “I had seen and heard of the Ballet Company before coming to Colgate and immediately knew I had to join, as I saw how welcoming and open they are to dancers of all experience levels and capabilities. Our group attracts such a wide range of experiences and it’s so rewarding to be part of a group that can bring so many people together through the context of ballet.”

The company holds ballet classes twice a week, taught by Paris Wilcox, a lecturer at Hamilton College and former dancer with the Kansas City Ballet. After class with Wilcox, they rehearse for upcoming performances. During the Fall semester, they also have an additional ten hours of weekly rehearsal for their performance of the classic ballet, “The Nutcracker,” at the Palace Theater in Hamilton, N.Y.

Legname also elaborated on how while participating in the Colgate Ballet Company is a large time commitment, it is worth the effort, due to the club members’ shared love for ballet.

“It gets very busy, but our joy and dedication for ballet never leaves us or our fellow dancers,” Legname said.

As the organization is entirely student-run, the group choreographs all of their own dances. They like to cater the choreography to the specific group of dancers and showcase all of their strengths. 

“We work together to create a piece that is meaningful and works well with the group of dancers we have that year. Deciding on music is honestly the most difficult part,” Legname said. 

The process of choreographing is difficult for a lot of dancers, but it also allows them to get creative and experience a new facet of dance. Sophomore Anika Accomando explained the overall process of choreographing and how it has differed from her previous experiences in dance. 

“Choreographing has been a completely different experience than learning choreography, as you do get more creative license to explore, but this obviously comes with more responsibility,” Accomando said. “The process I have gathered so far looks like listening to the music repetitively to get a feel for it, then throwing whatever comes to mind at the piece and seeing what sticks.” 

After the dances are choreographed, the routines are taught section by section to the rest of the group. The group continues to build onto the dances until they are all learned and memorized. Finally, they focus on polishing the dances and getting them ready for the performance.

Accomando spoke on the importance of spending time rehearsing and how this impacts a dancer’s ability to learn new choreography. 

“The process of learning dances gets easier as you spend more time practicing ballet. You start to learn more about the individual steps and patterns that go into each dance, and over time, you pick up choreography faster and faster,” Accomando said.

Legname praised the other dancers in the company and their ability to quickly learn new choreography while maintaining an enthusiastic environment. 

“Our dancers make it so easy to learn with and teach choreography to,” Legname said. “We always have so much fun and have good laughs in the studio.”

Ballet is very physically demanding and is highly technical, requiring a lot of steady effort and dedication to the craft. The ballet community has very high standards because of the technicality of the art. Legname elaborated on how the Colgate Ballet Company tries not to conform to these extremely rigid constraints that are typical of a lot of ballet companies, while still putting on high quality productions.

“It’s difficult to escape from the notion of feeling the need to be perfect and uphold standards that many pre-professional ballet schools instill in us from a young age,” Legname said. “With the Colgate Ballet Company, we do our best to ensure that harmful and unreasonable expectations aren’t enforced, and we strive to make our group as welcoming, open to all and relaxed as we possibly can.”

Legname described how she took a four-year hiatus from dance due to an injury, but was able to return to the art of ballet after she was healed.

“Returning to ballet at Colgate after my injury was the perfect opportunity for me to re-immerse myself with this highly technical style of dance, where the stakes are lower on a technical level and the environment is significantly more relaxed than what you would find outside of campus,” Legname said. 

Not only does the community within The Colgate Ballet Company contribute to the experiences of the dancers, but their audience and the wider Colgate community also provide an incentive to work hard and continue to put on great performances.

Sophomore member Sarah Sexton spoke about her experience participating in a Colgate Ballet Company performance. 

“I really enjoyed being in The Nutcracker’ and seeing so many students and community members support us,” Sexton said. 

Colgate Ballet Company’s next performance will be at the Spring 2024 Dancefest on Friday, April 26, in the Colgate Memorial Chapel, where they will be performing one lyrical ballet piece and another classical piece inspired by Don Quixote.

Legname shared her enthusiasm for the upcoming Dancefest performance and the opportunity to put on a special show for the Colgate community. 

“We are so excited to perform for our campus community and share the Chapel stage with all the wonderful and talented dancers on our campus,” Legname said.

More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Colgate Maroon-News Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *