Dancing events usually go unnoticed among the crowds at the University of Calgary. Midterms, exams and last night's party usually dominate a student's mind while major drama and dance events are largely ignored. Although this is unfortunate, now is the best time to break a dramaless habit and head out to watch Mainstage, a long-standing U of C event, showcasing brilliant choreographers from the United States and Canada and U of C's dance degree students.
"It has a festival feeling in that it's eclectic pieces," says Mainstage's art director MichÃ¨le Moss. "It's works between four or five choreographers that set work on [auditioned] students with no particular theme, so it's whatever fancy comes to the choreographers and whatever the theatre will accept. What can be put in it, is what I'm trying to say, things like swings, trapezes and open flames."
Not only does Mainstage provide its audience with a variety of imaginative idioms and themes, but dances and movements that are familiar to everyone as well, like contemporary dance, classical ballet and jazz.
"There was a time where I choreographed for like three, four or five years in a row," says Moss with a twinkle of experience flashing in her eye. "But lately I've been doing it every other year. So I kind of save it up and been chewing it up a bit and anxious to make a dance [for students I know]."
Moss is a veteran of choreography at the U of C, being a dance graduate that has moved on to teach here as well.
"Certainly if you're teaching in the faculty, you have your eye on students," she says. "I get to look in my class to see who is good."
This comes in handy when talent is a resource that is in high demand for a production like Mainstage.
"Opening the production is my piece," Moss says. "It's a jazz piece and it celebrates the body, the body in all of its glory accomplishing a goal . . . so it's the sporting body that has inspired me. [A] very functional body, you know?