Tufts Dance Collective reduces size, reforms structure
Published: Monday, September 24, 2012
Updated: Monday, September 24, 2012 12:09
Tufts Dance Collective (TDC) has reduced its number of dances and participants this fall as part of ongoing efforts to address logistical and safety concerns.
An incident during last semester’s show in which body paint used for a dance inflicted damage to the walls of the Aidekman Arts Center prompted reevaluation of the group’s size and structure.
At the request of the management of Cohen Auditorium, where TDC performances are held, the Office for Campus Life (OCL) got involved to facilitate the implementation of a safer, more organized performance system, according to OCL Director Joe Golia.
“We’re here to help them have a successful event and continue the future of this event,” Golia said.
Following the paint incident last semester, the TDC Executive Board was told that this semester’s show would be put on hold pending changes, according to Golia.
However, a Dec. 7 show date has now been set, senior Markus Willhite, a member of the TDC Board, said.
Golia said the OCL has been working with the TDC Board to evaluate possible changes that would guarantee the show’s safety and organization.
“We’ve told them the shows can happen. They just have to make some adjustments,” Golia said. “The ball’s in their court.”
The TDC Board this summer brainstormed ways to address the show’s organizational and safety shortcomings, according to Willhite.
The primary concern for the TDC Board and OCL was reducing the number of participants, as the large size of the group of dancers made it difficult to ensure structure and safety throughout last semester’s performance.
Despite increased selectivity — since 2009, TDC has had to turn away some potential dancers every semester — last spring’s show was the group’s largest ever, according to senior Madeline Mayerson, a member of the TDC Board.
This year, TDC has reduced the number of dances to 18, down from approximately 22.
The number of participants in each dance is now 28 or 30, instead of 32, she said.
“It’s really been growing in size, and nothing’s been done to accommodate that size,” Mayerson said.
Students used to be able to participate in a maximum of three dances, but starting in the 2010-2011 academic year the number was switched to two, according to Mayerson.
Despite the decrease in the number of dances and accepted participants, TDC is still allowing students to participate in two dances this year.
The logistics of the performance have not yet been finalized, Golia said, but the TDC Board has discussed changes that would facilitate a safer backstage environment.
TDC leadership has proposed positioning Tufts University Police Department officers at the backstage entrance and exit to ensure that all students backstage have permission to be there, according to Mayerson.
“This year we’ll make it clear with wristbands or something who is a dancer or has backstage access,” Mayerson said.
Golia and the TDC Board are confident that the changes will not adversely impact the TDC experience.
“If [TDC] got shut down, it wouldn’t be good for Tufts. It’s something that is unique and exciting,” Mayerson said. “It [was] inevitable that something would go wrong. We want to capitalize on this chance — make it smaller and then rebuild it better.”