dancers doing dancer things ft. anders' gf

This year's Snowflake Showcase will feature 14 pieces, 75 dancers performing and a variety of dance styles ranging from ballet to Salsa.

What started out as an informal December dance concert has grown into a yearly tradition beloved by Gonzaga University’s dance program, better known as the Snowflake Showcase.

This year’s Snowflake Showcase will take place on Dec. 2 in the Magnuson Theatre in College Hall at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. The show is about an hour and 15 minutes long, and tickets are $10.

According to Suzanne Ostermith, the dance program director and a professor of dance, the Snowflake Showcase is a dance concert that features a wide variety of pieces, including choreographed numbers from GU’s student-taught Boundless dance classes to pieces from academic dance classes.

The Snowflake Showcase has been running for almost 15 years, and was originally called “Popsicle Toes,” Ostersmith said. It used to be danced on top of a theater set that was in the process of being built in the Magnuson Theatre,­ but now it’s a full-fledged dance concert.

“This was student driven,” Ostersmith said. “Students wanted more performance opportunities. And so years ago, there was a dynamic student who said ‘I want to do a December concert’ and so it was part of our student dance club, and they made it happen. So it's turned into just this iconic holiday gathering. It's really fun.”

Ostersmith is particularly excited to see her class, dance culture and art, perform a dance in the showcase. Another highlight of the showcase will be a South Asian fusion dance piece choreographed by Devika Gates, an artist in the community trained in the dance form Bharatanatyam, Ostersmith said.

Brooke Harkness, a senior double majoring in biology and dance, is the student director of this year’s Snowflake Showcase. She said there are 14 pieces in the showcase, and around 75 dancers performing in the show.

Harkness runs the committee that works to put on the showcase, which includes coordinating information, gathering music files, setting the show order, decorating and leading warmups during show week, she said.

The student leadership aspect of working on the showcase has been rewarding for Harkness, and she acknowledged the work of everyone involved in putting on the show. She also highlighted how the Snowflake Showcase features the work of a student lighting designer, Luke Motschenbacher.

According to Harkness, the Snowflake Showcase is a good opportunity for students to have a break from studying as the semester draws to a close, as well as a way to get into the holiday spirit.

“Dance is really a thing that we like to share with people and to be able to share your work is a big deal,” Harkness said. “So for Boundless teachers in particular, to be able to share their choreography work with the community … it's a big deal.”

Halle Goodwin, club advisor for the Dance Club and assistant director of the dance program at GU, said the Snowflake Showcase displays opportunities for students to get involved in the dance program. Anyone can take Boundless dance classes, which are student-taught dance classes that are a part of Dance Club and can choose to perform in the showcase, she said.

Among the lineup of dances in the Snowflake Showcase are Salsa, ballet, contemporary, tap and K-pop, Goodwin said. She is looking forward to seeing everyone have fun while they perform, and hopes it inspires students to take Boundless classes and start dancing.

“It's that kind of thing where students get to get exposed to the Boundless classes that are available and the dance classes that are available and seeing that they really could do it,” Goodwin said. “You don't have to have dance experience to come and dance at Gonzaga, or take a Boundless class or take an academic class. I love [how] the Snowflake Showcase can inspire people to get involved with dance.”

Zoe Driml, a senior and the president of Dance Club, said she has had a relatively hands-off role with the showcase this year. However, she is looking forward to seeing the show from an audience perspective.

Driml also echoed Ostersmith’s sentiment of excitement at the South Asian fusion piece, since she said this is the first time an outside artist has been brought in to teach dance workshops to choreograph a piece for Snowflake Showcase. The variety of dance styles represented in the showcase is another reason to see the show, Driml said, in addition to how it is student-produced.

According to her, the Snowflake Showcase usually concludes with a holiday-themed dance at the finale, where everyone involved looks like they are having fun as they dance.

“… Being in a space together and celebrating what the human body can do is a is a real joy,” Ostersmith said. “So everyone should come just to give their mind and heart a break from everything else they're doing.”

Lillian Piel is the editor-in-chief. Follow them on Twitter: @lillianpiel.


Lillian Piel is the editor-in-chief. Previously they were a staff writer for a year and a news editor last year. Lillian is majoring in communication studies and minoring in sociology & social justice, and they enjoy improv, theater, swimming and art.