The NoMaj Dance Concert is a cheekily titled showcase that started in Spring 2018. The informal showcase, now in its third semester, highlights the work of non-Dance majors (NoMaj) taking dance classes.
Christine Hands (MFA Dance ’19) has been the director and organizer of the NoMaj show since its inception. Traditionally, during the last week of classes, most classes for Dance majors share work in an informal setting with faculty and fellow students. This event offers an opportunity for non-Dance majors to share their progress in a similar setting.
“The show is a great way to build community, share what happens in other classes, and also advertise not only the success of our students, but also the valuable learning and growth happening in each of our unique classes,” explains Hands.
She explains that the event is an opportunity to celebrate dance at all levels of involvement. Dance majors have countless opportunities to perform, but students who are dancing for the first time, or only take one dance class while at UMD, may not have the joyous opportunity to perform. NoMaj offers that experience.
Rachel Hithon, a student in Hands’ Fundamentals of Modern Dance participated in NoMaj at the end of the Fall 2018 semester. She remarked, “My class worked really hard on the choreography and the NoMaj performance was our opportunity to show what we had been working on for weeks. I enjoyed performing and I enjoyed watching the other classes perform.”
Diego Giraldo, a student in MFA Dance candidate Renee Gerardo’s Fundamentals of Modern Dance this semester was part of the same concert at the end of Fall 2018. He recalls, “The NoMaj show might be up there in terms of my favorite memories at UMD. Despite the presence of an audience, there was zero pressure...it just allowed us to dance for the sake of dancing.”
The inspiration to try another class is part of the mission of the concert: to share and also learn about other class offerings in order to start or continue enjoying dance while at UMD and, hopefully, beyond. While a few NoMaj participants switch to the Dance major, many of them continue on their academic paths as Architecture, Biology, Political Science, and Psychology majors. Still, they remember this culminating event as an enriching way to share this unique experience in their college careers.
“My dream is that one day these dancers—after they have earned their medical degrees or started teaching in their Kindergarten classrooms—will find themselves at a dance show, or sitting on an arts-based board of directors, or taking adult dance classes. I hope that one day they find themselves an active and engaged part of our dance community.”
She continues, “NoMaj is a ritualistic celebration—a way to close, a way to celebrate, a way to say goodbye, a way to learn! We are doing so much more than dancing: we are sharing! Sharing space, sharing joy, sharing dance!”
Come and see what they have been cooking up in the Dance Wing this semester on Tuesday, May 14th at 6:00pm in the Dance Theater at The Clarice. Show your support and then show your own moves at the big dance party at the end!
By Renee Gerardo