Before there was even a dance program at Keene State College, “An Evening of Dance” was around to showcase the original choreography of students passionate about the art of dance.

Once the dance program was established, students who were dance majors or enrolled in a dance class were able to be involved.

Now, 40 years later, “An Evening of Dance,” encompasses original work by students, faculty, guest artists and alumni.

Michael Portrie / Contributed Photo

Michael Portrie / Contributed Photo

Directed by Marcia Murdock for the past 30 years, a true tradition has been created for dancers at KSC.

Murdock admitted that she felt a little extra pressure this year, considering it was representing 40 years of hard work and dedication to the dance program.

“There’s definitely no shortcut around the hours of experimenting with and without the cast,” she explained, “I do believe that this year’s designers and choreographers have truly created the perfect world for each and every dance.”

This year’s performance was a little different from past years because alumni were brought back for the show to perform dances they had done as students in their own “An Evening of Dance.” Each night featured a different alumnus, and each alumnus represented a different decade.

“I often ended up watching entire concerts, fondly remembering the rehearsals and backstories, before I could actually settle on the one dance to represent that year,” Murdock stated.

Hanna Patterson, a first-year and dance major at KSC, was excited for “An Evening of Dance” before she even started school.

“Last year when I toured Keene, they were in the middle of tech rehearsals and I heard a lot about what a big four nights it is,” Patterson explained, “That’s kind of why I started getting excited about being able to audition.

Being in the show got me dancing every day, so as a dance major that’s kind of a dream come true.”

The show allows non-dance majors and dance majors to come together to share their love for dance and feed off of each other’s ideas.

“It’s impossible to pick which dance was my favorite to perform,” Patterson said, “They each took a little something different out of me to perform and they each gave me a chance to dance with different people, so I can certainly say I’m going to miss being able to perform all of these pieces after Saturday night.”

All of the dances in the show were contemporary modern because KSC’s dance department is well-known for the KSC modern program.

While a majority of modern dances are on the slow side, there were a few dances in the show that strayed away from “traditional” modern and added its own flare. First-year student and member of the audience, Katrina Prime, liked “the dance Spotlight because it was more upbeat humorous compared to the other numbers in the show; it was a nice change of pace.”

As a former dancer herself, coming to opening night of “An Evening of Dance,” was a fun way to show support to her school.

“I have a friend in the show, but I would have come to the show regardless because I was excited to see what they put together,” she said.

Overall, Murdock explained, “[The show] feels so cohesive and complete to me this year.

The experience begins when you walk into the lobby and follow the forty years of posters, programs, photos and costumes and culminates in a concert that shows the breadth of modern dance with alumni and current dancers sharing the stage.”

Olivia Belanger can be contacted at obelanger@kscequinox.com