From Memphis to Mumbai, Dance Company steps out


Wen-Xuan Ni

Dance company shimmies to Christina Aguilera’s Burlesque in choreographer Martha Gray’s Shimmy Shimmy Strut.

Teddy O'Connor, Managing Editor

This Friday and Saturday nights (Nov. 14-15), the Dance Company will present a performance featuring four student choreographic works, with  seven total works set on the company.   The four student choreographers are Isis Bruno ’15, Martha Gray ’16, Kat Bartley ’16. Hannah Sznajderman ’16. In addition,  Irish dancer Hailey Payea ’15 will also take the stage to dance.

These student works are the result of collaboration with two separate guest artists, alumna Melanie (Rothenberg) Pandit, ’97, and Mishi Castroverde.

Melanie Pandit’s father, Ron Rothenberg, still teaches mathematics at the school. While at Masters, Pandit was the president of Dance Company. She went on to attend Skidmore College, where she double majored in Asian Studies and Dance. Fluent in two Indian languages, Pandit travels regularly to India.

Indian dance captured Pandit’s heart at an early age, prompting her to spend her entire junior year of college abroad in India studying their languages, dance, and culture. She created the dance, to be performed by the Dance Company, with another artist, and lent it to the company to present.

Mishi Castroverde, a native of Memphis, Tennessee came to New York to attend Columbia University and danced at Barnard. Her professional company, MishiDance held its first full event in September. MishiDance will be traveling to California for a dance competition that will recognize Castroverde’s work. She choreographed the dance on her own, which was inspired by her song choice, “Atta Boy” by Edgar Meyer.
“The types of dance we’ve had vary from modern ballet, theatre dance, and world dance,” Director of Dance, Mary Rotella said. She will perform her own 1960s dance for the community.

“Expectations are high,” Rotella said. Dancers have been rehearsing Monday through Friday, 3:30-5:30 p.m. The dancers are also required to take Tech 1 or 2, as well, which is a major.

“Dance is important because it teaches about different cultures, and creates an opportunity for dancers to become well-rounded” Rotella said.