Dance minors in Conservatory’s Dance Kaleidoscope


Anna Vande Krol, Arts and Entertainment Editor

“Dance Kaleidoscope,” produced by the Conservatory of the Performing Arts under the direction of Shane Rhoades, is a show where dance minors have the opportunity to choreograph each number in the show. This completes their training within their minor. “It’s a big celebration of the dance minors and dancers at Viterbo,” says Mariana Villanueva. 

Villanueva, a junior music theatre major with minors in dance and arts administration, talks about the process of being a choreographer for this show. “[We started] rehearsals two weeks after the semester. We still had to choreograph it all before we started teaching [but] as soon as we had casting, we were able to go straight into individual choreographer rehearsals where we would choreograph on our own within class and different spaces. Whenever we were ready, we could start bringing in our dancers and teaching them the dance,” she says. Casting is the theatrical term in which someone chooses a group of performers they want to work with who could help share their vision with the public. 

The people who helped Villanueva’s vision come alive on stage were her friends Bailey Millimaki, Beth Anderson and Ellyn Werner. “Getting to choreograph it and teach it to my dancers has been such a gift because they’re so talented and kind,” Villanueva states. She also wanted to showcase what these dancers were best at. “I have like a little section of improv in it. I’ll do a calypso and Beth is doing turns in 2nd and Bailey’s kicking her face and Ellen is doing turns.” Even when showcasing these skills, she says the style of the dance stays true. 

Choreographers were given the freedom to choose their own song and style. Villanueva describes her style as “contemporary but with a modern twist,” and the song she chose was “HELP!” by Brandon Lake. “For me personally I knew that I wanted to do something that was important to me and really shed light on something that meant a lot to me and for me that’s my faith,” she says as to why she chose this song. “It’s beautiful to hear a song about the struggles that we go through and where we turn to for help.”  

During this time of choreographing, Villanueva has learned she is capable of so much more than she thought she was. “Just because I don’t have 10 years of dance up my sleeve, it doesn’t mean that I am not capable of being creative, skilled and organized. I am where I need to be, and I belong as a dance minor not only because I want to improve but because I am a dancer and I do have a lot to offer,” she says. One of the main reasons she dances is because “sometimes singing isn’t enough, and I have to move my body.”  

Tucker Mensen, a first-year music theatre major with a minor in dance, dances for a similar reason: to release any tough emotions he has in his body. With this love of dance he has, Mensen was one of the dancers in a tap number choreographed by Sidney Wateski. For Mensen, this show taught him how to pick up choreography quicker and see more of how the choreography process goes. “At my [previous] dance studio, the choreographers came in and then they already knew what they were going to do right when they got there. Sidney was kind of figuring it out as we went along,” Mensen shares.  

For readers questioning whether dance is for them, Tucker says that “there’s no harm in trying,” and “you’re not just dancing to the music, you’re also being a part of the music.” Performances for “Dance Kaleidoscope” are on April 28-30, four shows total. Readers can get their tickets through the box office located in the lobby of the Fine Arts Center.