"Vigorous" Determination

Posted on September 1st, 2009 by

The dance Vigorous Incubation was selected "outstanding student performance" and received a bid to perform at nationals in June.

The dance Vigorous Incubation was selected "outstanding student performance" and received a bid to perform at nationals in June.

By Cara Carlson ’08

While many Gustavus students were enjoying their summer vacation, members of the Gustavus Dance Company pushed their limits in a sweltering studio to show that hard work pays off.

They did just that by earning a coveted spot in the 2008 National American College Dance Festival. In adjudicated shows in 10 regions spread throughout the country, 430 performances vied for a possible 30 spots.

The Gustavus dance students, earned one of those 30 spots and more. They also earned “the outstanding student performance award”—a rare feat because it was given to an ensemble rather than an individual.

The Gustavus dance, “Vigorous Incubation,” was the recipient of these accolades, earned in March 2008 at the American College Dance Festival Association’s (ACDFA) North-Central Regional Conference.

For this college and university academic dance achievement, the dance will be performed at this summer’s biennial national college dance festival in New York City. The Gustavus dance will be performed at the Gala concert Wednesday, June 4, 2008 at 8 p.m. in the Miller Theatre at Columbia University. And the Gustavus dance has a plum performance spot—the show “opener” for the 2008 National American College Dance Festival.

“Vigorous Incubation” was choreographed by Visiting Instructor of Dance Cynthia Gutierrez-Garner and performed by seven students: seniors Britta Peterson and Katie Jensen; junior Nikki Rusinko; and sophomores Marissa Augustin, Sarah Jabar, Katelyn Pedersen, and Nina Serratore.

Britta Peterson is glad to be a part of the piece. “I’m honored to dance with such a talented, close-knit group of women,” Peterson said. A senior communication studies and dance double major from Edina, Minn., Peterson has been involved with the Gustavus Dance Company since she enrolled as a first-year student.

Preparations for “Vigorous Incubation” began in August, with hours of classes and rehearsals every day in the summer heat. Peterson credits the dancers’ focus and intensity for their success: “If someone doesn’t work her hardest, then everything falls apart. Dance is a mindset, and this piece forces us to think only about how we’re moving at each specific moment. When we’re dancing this work, we aren’t focusing on the audience’s reaction or our costumes or anything else.”

North-Central regional officials also selected “Vigorous Incubation” as the region’s nominee for the national organization’s ACDFA/Dance Magazine Award for outstanding student performance, which will be announced at the national festival in June.

“It’s a great honor, especially since this particular award is usually reserved for individuals. The fact that our entire ensemble was nominated is so exciting,” Peterson said. “It really shows that a group can perform as one and that the closeness of our group was communicated.”


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