By Kamryn Koble | Echo
When performers are lip-syncing, the importance of choreography skyrockets. Every detail must be created, taught and executed to pull off the quality of Airband performances that Taylor expects.
Junior Ember Pflughoeft works with Second West Olson, and she fondly remembers the previous three years she was involved with Airband.
She played baby Simba in a Lion King-themed number as a freshman, and has progressed to a choreographer this year.
Pflughoeft spent 13 years as a competitive gymnast and choreographed her own routines. This year, she serves alongside co-director junior Kiersten Mackintosh. The two brainstormed and planned the routine together, and spent the rest of the rehearsal process teaching the group.
"It is absolutely one of my favorite campus events," Pflughoeft said. "I love the late night practices with my wing mates and getting to know one another better through dance."
Junior Sydney Smith is choreographing with her wing Second East Olson as well as helping choreograph First West Wengatz. She has participated in Airband for three years; her wing won last year, raising the expectations for this coming performance.
She danced for 14 years, mostly classical training in ballet, tap, jazz and contemporary. Her experience teaching dance prepared for this new role. Most of all, she emphasizes how much of a group effort Airband is.
"Every year I have done Airband I have been amazed at how a group of people can come together and create something so fun and exciting," Smith said. "Everyone brings something new to the table."
Sophomore Chloe Sohmer is also choreographing Second East Olson and First West Wengatz, and participated in last year's winning performance. She grew up in theatre and show choir, but this is her first time choreographing for a major public event.
She thanks the set designer, costumer, and other choreographers for their hard work as well. The choreographers met almost daily to plan movements, block and cover other details before teaching the performers.
"Advice for future choreographers: Do not try choreographing in the racquetball courts. It is not an easy task," Sohmer said.
Sohmer encouraged freshman Zoë Mendenall to step out of her comfort zone and help choreograph her first Airband experience. Mendenall danced competitively for seven years.
"I prefer to be the kind of leader that practices with the group, working as an example for peers who feel uncomfortable stepping out and asking the leaders up front," Mendenall said.
Junior Rachel Davidovitch is a choreographer for 2 Breu and Sammy 2. Her floor focuses on having fun more than winning a competition, which has made her Airband experiences positive.
She danced for 15 years, and has taught classes, private lessons and at summer camps. After 30 dances, she has lost count of how many routines she has choreographed.
Davidovitch typically listens to the music and visualizes the moves in her head. In rehearsal, she thinks of phrases to help learn the choreography, and dancers have told her they can hear her in their heads as they are performing. Because her dance teachers used this effective technique, she is able to do the same for her fellow students.
"Our group always focuses on the fun rather than stress or the competition of it all so we have a blast every time we meet for practice," Davidovitch said. "I'm really proud of the commitment of my dancers, they consistently show up and work hard."
Junior Cassidy Drabek is working with "Bergwall & Friends," which consists of other students beyond Bergwall residents. She finds this blend of performers beneficial because Bergwall can be known for isolating themselves, and opening up their Airband has been beneficial for all involved.
She took dance lessons as a child, began practicing hip hop last year and is currently the co-director of TUDANCEVIBES. Before rehearsals, she and sophomore Daniel Korrie divided and conquered in order to accomplish their goals.
"One thing that I have learned from being head choreographer this year is that everyone learns at a different pace so patience is key and always be open to change," Drabek said. "Creativity cannot be put in a box."
While watching the Airband performances, it can be easy to focus on the lights, costumes, and music. When considering the process of the creative minds backstage, it only enriches one of Taylor's most revered traditions.