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Scholars get behind-the-scenes glimpse of dance at Missouri Contemporary Ballet

October 16, 2015

Freshman Allie Wilson adequately summed up a group of students’ thoughts yesterday after seeing a rehearsal at the Missouri Contemporary Ballet.

“I don’t have any questions, but I do have a comment: Holy cow,” she said.

Wilson and other members of the Stephens Scholars yesterday took a walking field trip to the Columbia-based dance company, where dancers were rehearsing a fast-paced piece called “Falling.” The dance, choreographed by MCB Executive Director Karen Grundy, will be part of an upcoming performance, Poised in Flux, slated for Nov. 13 and 14.

Scholars had the opportunity to see how dance numbers are created, learning that it’s a rigorous and intense process. Each section of the dance is repeated multiple times with dancers counting out rhythms and steps to create symmetry or complementing motions.

Associate Professor James Terry, a Scholars adviser, noted that dance is a bit like an iceberg—one sees the tip while the bulk of the mass is not visible. By the time audiences see the piece, it will not be evident how much work has gone in to creating it.

Grundy started the company 10 years ago and today artists come from around the country to Columbia to audition to be part of it. Most also have other jobs not related to dance, Scholars learned.

“We definitely don’t do it for the money,” one company member said. “But it’s worth it because we love it and feel privileged to be able to hone our art form.”

The trip to MCB was one of several activities the Scholars have participated in this semester. This past weekend, they also got a tour of the Columbia Daily Tribune and its printing press led by Publisher Vicki Russell, who is also a Stephens Trustee.

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