Written by Morgan Wrigley // Photo by Balazs Balassa
Two students took on a challenge this Spring Sing season as they collaborated both with others to lead their club shows and with each other to help choreograph the hosts, hostesses and ensemble numbers.
Sophomore Emma McDaris is a director for “Living Color,” featuring women’s social clubs Delta Gamma Rho and Phi Kappa Delta and men’s social club Omega Phi. Junior Violet Brentham is a director for “Steeling the Show” featuring men’s clubs Gamma Sigma Phi and Theta and women’s social club Pi Theta Phi.
Both also worked with Dottie Frye, Spring Sing director and assistant professor of theatre, to choreograph the ensemble numbers.
“We would meet every Monday afternoon, and we work in [my office], talking about flavor and style and costumes,” Frye said. “… And then we go across the hall in the rehearsal hall, and we work for another couple of hours.”
Frye said Brentham and McDaris had different strengths that complemented each other.
“When the two got together, it was very fun to watch them find out their similarities and their differences and their strengths,” Frye said.
Brentham said the two had different dance backgrounds that brought a variety of ideas to the table.
“I love working with Emma,” Brentham said. “Both of us have very different styles of dance, and we come from very different dance backgrounds, but whenever we come together, we both bring such different ideas to the table, and so it’s been really cool to see how our styles come together.”
Brentham and McDaris both said while their schedules were hectic, the best part was having the opportunity to collaborate with many different people.
“Performing and creating something is a totally different process,” McDaris said, “I think the most challenging and learning and rewarding part is finding out how you can collaborate with people in many different ways.”
Brentham said the people she was working with made it easier to transition between the two groups.
“Time management for sure has been hard,” Brentham said. “But I have a really good support system that I’ve been working with, and it made it very easy to transition back and forth between different rehearsals.”
McDaris said one of the main parts of transitioning from ensemble rehearsals to club rehearsals was a change of mindset.
“Ensemble is definitely a more professional mindset,” McDaris said. “I know that this group has auditioned, and they normally will have experience. And we’ve kind of already established that these will be practices where we just ‘learn, learn, learn,’ ‘go, go, go.’ Transitioning to the club show is taking into account just the fun of it … and the community in it … and knowing that some people might not be dancers, but they love to perform and love Spring Sing.”
McDaris is also a member of the Spring Sing ensemble, while Brentham is performing in her club show.
“It is very rewarding, getting to see and feel when my fellow classmates nail it and getting to know that I made things that I knew would accentuate my friends,” McDaris said. “It is very rewarding to get to feel that with the cast. And to get to know that when I’m creating it, I’m not only creating it for the cast, I’m also getting creative for myself.”