Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Orchesis: 40 years in the making
Above: Livonia senior Mallory Stempin dances in in April on the stage of Bush Theatre at Central Michigan University during her final performance with the Orchesis Dance Theatre Company. The dance company celebrated its 40th year during their annual spring show.
Below: Stempin looks up at Grand Rapids senior Korey Brown during Orchesis Dance Theatre Company's spring show. Stempin said the company has been based on a variety of dance, solidified in its use of ballet, jazz and even modern dance as well.
These are a few images I made for a class project last spring. Here is a link to the home page. There is a story, photo gallery and video.
The origin of its name comes from the Greek word meaning “the place on a stage where the action takes place.” This definition is not far from the truth of the word’s meaning at Central Michigan University, but the origin of Mount Pleasant's group tells a much different story.
More than 40 years ago, it started as a nameless dance club. And stayed that way until 1969, two years after Orchesis Artistic Director Yvette Crandall and a group of students gave it more of a purpose. That year, the club was renamed into a “company.”
“It was not performance-oriented. The students just watched other university’s dance concerts. It was nothing like it is today,” said Crandall, a fine arts professor. “The students wanted more … they wanted to dance on stage."
Crandall arrived in Mount Pleasant in 1967. The students desire to dance built higher within one year, and in 1968, held lecture demonstrations with Crandall where she would tell them of her college dance experience.
She said she shared stories with them about different dance styles she learned while studying at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a company she danced with called “Orchesis.” Click here to continue and read the full story.