Dancing in the CAW
November 6, 2009
Last year, more than 80 students who graduated Grand Rapids Christian High School (GRCHS) made Calvin their choice for their undergraduate studies. This year, Calvin College sent more than 200 students back.
With Calvin’s own Fine Arts Center (FAC) out of commission, the students organizing annual and semiannual events, such as Dance Guild, Rangeela and Airband, have been forced to adjust by finding new venues for their shows. Though Rangeela and Airband take place in the spring semester, Dance Guild—with a performance each semester—required accommodations this fall.
"We knew last May,” said senior Joy Tweedie, one of five students on Dance Guild’s leadership, “We cried.”
To the CAW
The show was held in GRCHS’s Center for Arts and Worship, or “the CAW” as it is familiarly referred to. The CAW, which is about two and a half miles west of Calvin, has a newer and larger auditorium than Calvin’s FAC.
"There were actually more seats this year, but only by 125,” explained junior Chelsea Schnabelrauch, another Dance Guild leader. “It was really neat to have a sold-out show on Friday… knowing that 125 people who would have not been able to get tickets were able to come!”
Ticketing was handled through Calvin’s box office as usual, but other preparations needed adjusting. For instance, the technical crew had to adjust to an entirely new curtain system, lighting grid and soundboard. "The tech crew was great,” insisted Tweedie, “Calvin is in a league of its own with them. They are so used to putting on high profile concerts and shows here, and we love them. We would not look good without them.” Dance Guild also had to change its performance dates this year.
Since the CAW was not available at the regular show date, Calvin’s performance had to be moved up two weeks from previous years. This left choreographers in a scramble to complete and sharpen their acts for the show.
Leadership also had to deal with the problem of transportation. With over 200 participants every semester, Dance Guild is the largest student organization on campus. Even though GRCHS is less than three miles from Calvin, moving so many people four times in one week presented a formidable challenge. “We really had to rely on our choreographers to make sure all their dancers had rides,” said Schnabelrauch, “because with well over 200 people, there was no way that five of us [on leadership] could make sure everyone had rides.”
"That way a big problem got reduced to a smaller one,” Tweedie said. “We were really, really impressed with the choreographer's responsibility in handling that. They are great.”
Dance Guild has already booked the CAW once again for the spring performance, which will be held on April 9 and 10, 2010. “I think that for the most part people were very excited to be in a new facility this year!” Schnabelrauch said. “The CAW is really nice, and though we miss being on Calvin's turf, we enjoyed being in a fresh location.”
Dance Guild leadership remains optimistic despite the challenges this semester presented.
"I think Dance Guild every semester is a positive experience, because everyone who participates meets new people and has fun performing,” Schnabelrauch said. “Though it was a very stressful semester with the early show, it was definitely worth it all when we hear feedback about how much people enjoyed the performance. As long as the dancers had fun meeting new people and learning new dances, it is worth every moment.”
~Cloud Cray, communications and marketing