Gotta Dance

On a damp and chilly Sunday afternoon, young women (and one young man) in leotards and tights, T-shirts and stretch dance pants, pink ballet slippers and bare feet, sprawl over the seats of Foy Hall, waiting to dance.

The Moravian College Dancers, now in their 27th year, are readying their April 5-6 performance.

As with dancers everywhere, they spend long hours in class and even longer hurry-up-and-wait time in rehearsal. Only the books and notepads scattered about identify them as college students who need to put in a little study while on call.

Because Moravian doesn’t offer a dance major, these are all true amateurs: They do this for the love of it. The students take class at night and rehearse in their off hours; artistic director Pattie Bostick also teaches at Muhlenberg and Cedar Crest colleges.

“My dream is to create a dance minor at Moravian,” said Dawn Ketterman Benner, who directed the company for its first 25 years, “and to collaborate more with our art and music departments and theater group.”

Despite heavy academic schedules, most of the dancers are reluctant to give up what has taken years of dance lessons to achieve. For instance: choreographer Dana Patchcoski ’04, Dunmore. She’s planning to be a math teacher, so she counts—on her fingers—17 years of ballet, tap, jazz, modern, hip-hop, and pointe lessons. “It’s something I’ve done so long, it’s become a part of my life,” she said.

The same with Jamie Good ’04, Macungie, who not only took all kinds of dance but also was a Parkette gymnast and cheerleader through high school. Now majoring in elementary education/psychology, she still finds time to dance and to be on the cheerleading squad for Moravian’s football and basketball teams.

Others, such as Christine Pukszyn ’04, Center Valley, elementary education/psychology, stay active in the studio. She somehow crams teaching one night a week at the Diana Medeiros Academy in Coopersburg into her schedule.

But why? “Without it in my life, I miss it,” said Erin Kutyla ’02, Scranton, music/elementary education, who found time to be in half the pieces on the program while preparing a senior voice recital.

Such busy lives add complications, as Marion Perry ’02, Owings, Md., sociology/political science, knows from experience: “I had, like, 18 dancers in my piece last year,” she said. “We were never all there at the same time.”

In addition to Patchcoski, Perry, Pukszyn, and Good, the concert will include pieces by Cathleen Lavelle ’05, Bushkill, and Danielle Anderson ’04, Levittown.

Guest choreographers who have made new pieces for the company are Kimberly Dolan, a hip-hop dancer who’s also bringing her High Voltage troupe from the Pennsylvania Performing Arts Academy, North Wales; Kathie Kececi-DelGuercio ’85, who also will bring her own company, In Motion, from New York; and Mary Anne Gillen Hoffman, who teaches ballet at the Banana Factory, South Bethlehem.

Also on the program: T.A.P. (Teach All People) from Palmer; Coral’s Academy of Dance, directed by Coral Nolan, Macungie; Broadway Rhythms, Easton; and the Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, Bethlehem.

The guests are Ketterman Benner’s idea. “This is the only college concert in the Lehigh Valley that includes guest artists,” she said. “This has been a 27-year tradition that I started.”

Most of the students realize there’s no professional future in dance. By the time they’re in college, they’re already too old for ballet and almost too old for a modern troupe (most of which aren’t full-time jobs anyway).

“It’s a hard place to go,” said Perry. “There are so many dancers out there.” And Pukszyn added: “If that could be my job for life, I’d do it. But it’s not a way to have a family.”

That doesn’t stop them from dancing their feet off. As Kutyla says: “Dance is something I love to do—though I wouldn’t want to do it all the time!”


Moravian College Dancers
8:00 p.m. Friday-Saturday,
April 5-6

Foy Hall
Free to College community;
otherwise $5

Ext. 1530

March 26, 2002

Never Forget
College holds 10-day Holocaust observance, with speakers, film, museum trip.
Gotta Dance
Moravian College Dancers in their 27th year. Performing coming up April 5-6.
Directionally Challenged
NBC newswoman Andrea Mitchell, Cohen Arts & Lectures speaker on March 18, almost didn't get here. With sidebar on Lewis Greenstein, Mitchell's brother-in-law, who taught at Moravian in the '70s.
Wake-Up Call
TIAA/CREF retirement planning seminars.
In Memoriam
Gaudeamus
Achievements of faculty/staff.
Housekeeping
Campus life announcements.
Datebook
Campus calendar.