Elevation is the newest addition to Dominican’s spring theatre season. Last spring, the choreographer of the musical and Inspirations One-X decided to end this ten-year-long show with Inspirations X: Again. Following a 14-minute mash-up opening were 24 dance numbers that were appearing on the Dominican stage for the second, and last time. As the cast of Inspirations X took their final bow in the spring, it was clear Mr. E would be missed dearly.
After the departure of Inspirations, the search was on to replace this beloved dance show. Mr. Schaetzke took it upon himself to find a new name and a new choreographer. In late May, he sent a group of soon-to-be seniors on an excursion to investigate a potential choreographer. Hannah Garwood, Hannah Jablonowski, Laura Poellmann, Riley Burton, Paul Budnowski, and I attended Chris Gilbert’s Advanced Hip-Hop class on a Sunday night. We experienced a new style of dance, similar to, but not entirely the same style of some of what we performed in past Inspirations. We struggled to learn the dance, as it was an advanced class, however, with Christopher Gilbert’s positive and encouraging attitude, we had a ton of fun.
Tuesday night auditions were a blast, in my opinion. Chris Gilbert has a different approach to dance than what we’re used to in the theatre department, but it’s a welcomed change. The enthusiasm and energy from the students was off the charts. We spent a while going over a very brief history of hip hop and what this style of dance means. An interesting take on a dance audition left a smile on every student’s face as the left the little theater.
Even those with some resistance to this new beginning left the audition smiling. I think it is likely that this resistance comes from a slight fear of change, which is justified, as we haven’t known anything but Inspirations and Mr. E for the last 10 years. Of course we are all going to miss Mr. E, but that doesn’t mean we can’t make the most of this experience, reciprocate Chris’ positive energy, and take advantage of this opportunity to learn new skills receive direction from a new set of eyes.
Seeing Christopher’s kindness, openness, and emphasis on inclusion, equality, and family turned nerves into excitement and doubt into faith. This change, while unexpected, has unwavering potential to be a positive experience and impressive performance. This is only possible with supportive, positive energy from the cast throughout this process. However, knowing the Dominican theatre department, we will have no problem smiling, laughing, dancing, and enjoying every minute of this show. 🙂