UM Dance & Theatre Holds Annual “Dance On Location”

Devyn Deschamps, Reporter

University of Montana dance students put on their annual ‘Dance on Location,’ at the campus. Open to the public for free, alumni, students, and Missoulians alike walked across UM by foot to watch five different dance performances. 

The performance gives students an opportunity to showcase the UM Dance and Theater program in a refreshing and different atmosphere, rather than the stereotypical auditorium.

 As community members gathered at Mansfield library, the group was almost immediately split into two. These groups were then spread across the campus and were approached by five groups of contemporary dance students. 

This year, UM brought in Georgia Littig as a guest choreographer. Littig, a Hellgate Knight alumni, graduated from the university last spring and is going to London this winter to pursue a masters in choreography. When Littig reminisced on her first Dance on Location it was much more of a sour event. “It was my first show of college and the weather was not forgiving!” she said. However, as roles reversed over four years later, Littig said of the show, “I found it extremely challenging. This show pushes not just the choreographer and dancers, but the audiences as well to find comfort in the unknown!”

Littig was not the only one branching out, sophomore Emma Piskolich had her first performance with the UM Dance program at Dance on Location. Piskolich feels especially close to the concert. “It is extremely rare to see this kind of movement-based creativity being broadcast in this playful, lighthearted, and nurturing way,” she said. 

Monroe Ayers, Hellgate alumni and a sophomore at UM, attended the performance. Ayers is a student within the Theatre program, however, hasn’t been involved with the Dance program as intensely. Ayers felt compelled when watching the dance. “The performers as my peers made the dance feel so attainable,” he said. This spawns from in the past when Ayers felt “intimidated” by the extremely technical choreography at the University. The free flowing movement, coming from those he calls friends, is what Ayers called, “welcome change.”

As Dance on Location kicked off the UM season for all things theatre and dance, this installment was an exceptionally grand deal, but it was the production behind it that was more meaningful to its students. Pisckolich said, “This program feels like home and I know it is not just me.” Littig alike has been extremely invested in the program, as she said, “The program reminds its students that there is potential in every facet of the body, mind, and soul!”  

These kind words of the program hadn’t been in vain, as the performance was accompanied by a large quantity of spectators, including Ayers. As Ayers said, “My opinion of the UM dance team has been lifted,” moreover he thinks of the UM dance community now as, “as big as a football game.” 

The performance was acclaimed by the public, and the anticipation for the University’s next production, “The Call of the Wild”, is at a high. Through Dance on Location, dancers, spectators and choreographers alike have the opportunity of, as Littig said, “understanding the world through a dancer’s lens.”