Regional dance company to host its annual spring concert


Corrin Hunt

Members from the Southern Illinois Dance Company practice the start of a dance Thursday, April 13, 2018, during a rehearsal in preparation for the SIDC Spring Concert in the Furr Auditorium. (Corrin Hunt | @CorrinIHunt)

By Rana Schenke, Staff Writer

The Southern Illinois Dance Company is hosting their Spring Concert Friday, April 20 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, April 21 at 2 p.m.

The Spring Concert will be held at Furr Auditorium in Pulliam Hall.

The performance will feature dancers from SIDC, as well as Willow Street Dance Studios and from Fierce, a musical theater group on campus, said SIDC president Clair Bammann, a junior studying civil engineering.


SIDC is a student-run dance company at SIU, and puts on one performance per semester. This year’s show will feature multiple different styles of dance.

“Most of our pieces [in the show] are student-choreographed, so whatever the choreographers want to put in the show, it’s really good with us,” Bammann said. “We do a lot of contemporary and modern. There’s also some hip-hop and jazz, and we have a tap number this semester, which is a little different for us.”

Sophomore physiology major Olivia Saltus is one of the members choreographing a dance for the show.

Saltus said she is choreographing a lyrical dance, which she said is like ballet but with more of a modern twist.

“This is my third semester [in the company],” Saltus said. “I started last spring as an apprentice, and then became a full member, and now this is my first semester choreographing for SIDC.”

Bammann said the performances give members a place to show work they may not be able to share anywhere else.  

“I do a lot of math and science all day, so it’s nice to go and do that creative… release,” Bammann said.


Mackenzie Kinkade, a sophomore majoring in zoology and a new member this semester agreed the dancing performances provide a creative outlet for the dancers.

“I’m a science major, and so I’m kind of… engulfed in science, and I’ve always loved dancing and theater and things like that,” Kinkade said. “I just knew I needed to get both sides of the spectrum.”

To join the dance company, prospective members have to go through the audition process. Anyone can audition; Bammann said the company has members of all experience levels and majors.

“We have majors from all over; we definitely have, you know, musical theater majors, but there’s a lot of math and science-driven people, and people from the liberal arts school, and we even have a nursing student who’s a part of it,” Bammann said. “I think that [diversity] really helps us stand out.”

Auditions for the dance company are typically held in the second week of the semester after the RSO fairs, Bammann said. They consist of barre exercises, leaps and turns, and short dance combinations that are taught and then performed in front of judges.

Prospective members are also invited to freestyle or show a short piece of choreography Bammann said.

“We can’t test all of the styles in our short audition, we would be there for days,” Bammann said.

The choice segment allows dancers to showcase any specialty types of dance they may know, such as tap dance or Latin dancing.

“We’re always looking to increase the variety, so we really encourage people,… if they have any choreography they want to show us,… to show us that,” Bammann said. “Dance can really be taught, so we look more for the personality. There has to be a little bit of rhythm there, obviously, but if you put on a performance, that’s what we’re looking for, rather than how many turns can you do or how high you can jump.”

After auditions are finished and new members have joined, the company has what they call “casting”, which is when the whole company gathers and members are taught routines, Bammann said.

“They perform [the dances] for the choreographers,” Bammann said. “Then the choreographers, based on the piece [dance routine] that they want, pick the dancers that they want in their dance.”

Dances can have as few as one or two people, or as many as nine or ten.

“We don’t normally have a large group number; we did have that one semester because someone was interested in doing that, but it’s usually not everyone in one piece,” Bammann said.

After the pieces are cast, choreographers work with their individual groups on the routines.

“For each dance, we practice once a week, and then we have a dance class with the whole company on Wednesdays,” Kinkade said. “So for me, since I’m in two dances and I go to the class, I dance three times a week.”

Saltus said when she started college, she wasn’t sure whether she wanted to continue dance.

“In high school, I was on a competition dance team, and I found that it was very time-consuming, so I didn’t know if I would have the time in college,” Saltus said. “But through SIDC, you can kind of choose how involved you are, how much time commitment you need, and it’s a great outlet to meet a lot of other people from other majors.”

“It’s just anyone who has a passion for dance,” Saltus said. “I was really excited to find that opportunity at SIU.”

Tickets can be purchased at the door or from SIDC members, according to the SIDC Facebook page. Tickets are $10 for adults, $6 for students and faculty, $5 for seniors and children under 15, or $5 if purchased from an SIDC member.

Staff writer Rana Schenke can be reached at 

To stay up to date with all your southern Illinois news, follow the Daily Egyptian on Facebook and Twitter.