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Beloit College wins two international dance awards

Friday, July 19, 2013

Dancers awarded two honors at New Prague Dance Festival

MEDIA CONTACT: Hilary Dickinson at dickinsonh@beloit.edu or 608-363-2849

The Beloit College dance department won two esteemed awards at an international dance festival earlier this month.

At the New Prague Dance Festival, the Beloit dancers won second place in the contemporary dance company competition, and Dance Professor Chris Johnson won first place for choreography.

“I’m elated, thrilled, honored, and overwhelmed,” Johnson said of the honors. “I didn’t expect it. I just wanted the dancers to dance the best they could, and they did. They danced like I’ve never seen them dance. It literally brought me to tears.”

According to Johnson, the New Prague Dance Festival, which took place June 29-July 5, is the highest caliber dance festival in which the Beloit dancers have performed. In addition to competing against other dancers from the U.S., they were also up against others from South Africa, Taiwan, Indonesia, Belgium, Australia, Gibraltar, India, Brazil, Great Britain and Turkey.

New Prague dance award 

The eight dancers who performed in the festival are:

·        Claire Alrich’13 of Evanston, Ill.

·        Nora Anderson’13 of Minneapolis, Minn.

·         Alissa Chen’14 of Madison, Wis.

·        Sarah Miller’15 of St. Louis Park, Minn.

·         Matt Porter’12 of Machesney Park, Ill.

·         Amelia Tarpey’14 of Yellow Springs, Ohio

·        Lily Watkins’13 of Columbus, Ohio

·        Marilu Wiesner’14 of Raleigh, N.C.

The dances they performed were “Between the Lines” and “Holding Patterns" (both choreographed by Johnson) and “One Sided” (choreographed by Porter and Vivian Chen’12).

“Because of the collaborative nature of our work, I share the choreography award with Matt, Vivian and all of the dancers, including dancers who I have worked with on these pieces in the past,” Johnson said of her choreography win.

In addition to performing at the festival, the students also had the opportunity to take classes each day from accomplished dance masters, sightsee, and forge international connections.

The Beloit dancers in particular bonded with the group from Antwerp, Belgium. Johnson, who aims to continue providing opportunities for her dancers to venture out into the world, hopes to do future collaborations with the Belgium group.

“They are such an amazing group of people,” Johnson said of her dancers. “They were focused and ready to go. They took advantage of every opportunity they had. They had fun when they had the opportunity, but when it was time to get to work they were so professional.”

Many of the students who graduated in May are already making their mark on the dancing world. For instance, Johnson said Watkins was accepted into the summer program of the world-famous dance company, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago.

The students’ trip to Prague was made possible by the Weissberg Program in Human Rights, a Keefer Senior Faculty Grant and a Mellon Labs Across the Curriculum grant.

To see a photo gallery, click here