In a matter of 60 seconds, dancers took to the stage to display their artistry and perform for an audience of friends and family at Gonzaga’s 60 x 60 Showcase on Friday, which took place at the start of Fall Family Weekend.
The concert is based on the international 60 x 60 project that includes performances composed of 60, 60-second- long modern and contemporary dance pieces.
Originally debuted in London in 2010, the 60 x 60 project has been performed in cities across three different countries and features thousands of dancers, including over 500 choreographers, according to the 60 x 60 website.
The production, presented by the Dance Club, involved nearly 100 community members and took place in the Myrtle Woldson Performing Arts Center.
The show’s co-producer, senior Elisabeth Ehnert, said participation for the concert has been steadily growing over the years, with this year’s show including over 60 dancers, 37 choreographers and 16 composers.
The nearly sold-out show was one of the Dance Club’s first performances of the season and one of the first live performances since GU returned to in- person activities.
This year, for the first time, each of the concert’s minutelong songs were produced by one of the 16 GU student composers.
Students, alumni, faculty and staff came together to put on the third annual 60 x 60 performance at GU. The entire performance, from the music composition to staging and lighting were all produced by members of the GU community.
Throughout the hour, the audience was witnessed to both live performances as well as pre-recorded videos that were projected onto a screen on stage.
“My favorite part of the show was our finale piece, it was so exciting to see all of our dancers on stage together closing the show,” Ehnert said. “Much of the process is independent, meaning the choreographers and dancers work on their own up until show week, so to have a piece with everyone brought us together as a group.”
Experience levels ranged from beginners to professional dancers and a wide variety of topics were covered, including COVID-19 and political debates.
An ongoing projection of a ticking clock was projected on the screen for the duration of each dance, displaying the organization and synchronization of each piece.
Preparation for the show began last semester in March with the creation of a leadership team, which led into the search for student composers and original music. After the playlist was finalized, choreographers selected their songs and began choreographing their routines.
Senior Mia Cretarolo participated in GU’s first 60 x 60 concert in 2019 and once again as a choreographer and dancer in this year’s show. Cretarolo said her favorite part of this year’s show was the unique addition of entirely student-produced music.
“In the past shows, we have used pre-prepared playlists that other schools have used as well, and the music was very hit or miss,” Cretarolo said. “If you were stuck with a strange song, it often took the fun out of choreographing the piece because you didn’t enjoy it as much, but this year all of the music was beautiful to listen to and fun to dance in.”
With a production as large as 60 x 60, Cretarolo said one of the challenges was coordinating everyone’s schedules for rehearsals and not being able to practice as a group until days before the performance.
“I really hope people appreciate the fact that this was entirely student directed; we managed our own meetings, rehearsals, choreography and music,” Cretarolo said. “The fact that we only came together once as a whole production, only two days before the actual show, really would surprise me as an audience member because I thought that everyone looked phenomenal on stage.”
Ehnert and Cretarolo both said they enjoyed seeing the creativity that 60 x 60 brought out of its participants.
“The beauty of dance is that it can be interpreted in so many different ways,” Ehnert said. “If we produced next year’s show with the same music, just different dancers and choreographers, I could guarantee that our audience would see a completely new show, and that’s pretty special.”