Irma Carrillo/Courier - Student dancers rehearsing a piece choreographed by Cheryl Banks-Smith on Monday, Nov. 28 in the Sexson Auditorium.
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About 25 PCC contemporary dancers filled the stage of the Sexson auditorium last Monday evening, as co-artistic Directors, Robbie Shaw and Cheryl Banks-Smith looked on.

The diverse group of performers were passionate and focused as they leapt, flowed, glided, pounced and even erupted into laughter as they practiced for their upcoming performances.

“Four more minutes left for your piece!” a student shouted from the front row.

This is not a performance, it’s a rehearsal. The clock is ticking and these dancers have a lot of ground to cover before the big show this weekend. Twelve separate pieces to be exact, each piece driven by it’s own unique flair and accompanying visuals, make up, and “Confluence”.

After experimenting with a couple of themes, it was evident early on in the semester to both the class and the advisors that most students had certain notions of what they were eager to create, develop and ultimately showcase.

“So we decided to call it ‘Confluence’ because, it really seemed like it was more about how with all of our different backgrounds we could come together as one,” Shaw said.

Vanessa Martin, a returning dancer and choreographer, was initially focused on outdoing her celebrated dance finale from last years show. Although, Martin ended up finding satisfaction by shifting into a different world of dance, a more challenging one.

“[Last year] I feel like I went out with a very big bang, smoke and petals, everybody wore gold … It was a dream come true! I don’t think I outdid the piece but I’m still very content because I challenged myself to do something that wasn’t in my style. Rather than doing my normal habitat, which would be modern, we’re doing a broadway, jazzy, burlesque type of piece,” Martin said.

Meanwhile, Shaw embraced the opportunity to create a fresh piece which combines two of her passions, dance and film.

“I’m excited this semester, my piece is called ‘Drama-Rama,’ it’s sort of like The Kardashians meets a Fellini film, [the dancers] are using an iPhone on stage and I’m live streaming the iPhone camera,” Shaw explained.

Student Danny Rico created a dance piece that leads with a narrative and tells the story of someone who is bullied. In contrast, Richard Kuller, a tap dance instructor at PCC will stick to what he does best: a full fledged tap number.

“Confluence” is brewing with inspiration, layers, experimentation and fun.

While many find it a thrill to perform in front of an audience, and look forward to the show this weekend, for dancer Lorena Rochin it’s a little more than that. Rochin lit up as she described her affinity for dance.

“You have to do it, you feel like that’s where you leave all your stress–like everything you’re going through that stays here,” Rochin said.

Rochin has had a passion for dance since she was a little girl, which carried on through high school when she was part of a dance company for three years straight. She looks forward to “Confluence” as an affirmation and display of her love and dedication for the art.

“I’m in six dances. It’s been really great to come back to performing,” Rochin expressed. “Dance has always been there for me and it comes naturally to me … and now I feel like it’s my time to show everyone, my friends, my family, that I still have it in me.”

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