Friday, Nov. 9, at 7 p.m., Pointe Blank Dance Company at the College of William and Mary had its fall showcase in Commonwealth Auditorium.
Pointe Blank is an independent, student-run dance company that features student choreography in multiple styles of dance.
Although the company holds a fall and spring showcase every year, this performance in particular marked the 20th anniversary of the group’s founding in 1999.
The group had been working on the fall showcase since the beginning of the semester, which was also when they held auditions and decided who would be choreographing dances.
As the lights went down, the performance began with a French-style jazz number to Stromae’s “Tous les memes,” followed by a contemporary dance to “Bruises” by Lewis Capaldi.
After this, the show was given a proper introduction by the company’s president Angela Leersnyder ’20, and vice president Sabina Valery ’20, who thanked the group’s alumni for building the organization into what it is today.
The show frequently switched moods as each number featured a different dance style, music genre, costuming and lighting.
Several numbers featured stunts and minor special effects.
One performance featured a stunt in which a dancer was lifted while standing before falling backwards to be caught by other dancers.
The executive board dance number to Pitbull’s “Fireball” featured a life-size cardboard cutout of the rapper himself.
It was apparent that the dancers enjoyed performing, and Pointe Blank members expressed their enthusiasm for being a part of the company.
Angela Leersnyder explained what her favorite part of Pointe Blank is.
“It exposes you to a lot of different styles of dance, because most dancers will come in with a lot of years of experience but they definitely have their favorite styles of dance, but the way that the calendar and the schedule works out, you can’t always be in the style of dance that you know you like, so you always end up trying different styles,” Angela Leersnyder said. “It’s so much fun because the choreographers are all students too and you’re all working with each other, introducing different genres to each other.”
New members provided a fresh perspective on the performance and the company itself. Anna Raymond ’23 liked the democratic nature of Pointe Blank.
“I honestly love that it’s student run; I love that people have opportunities to put in input about what they want to do, and we get to choose what we want to do; it’s just really different than a lot of other experiences I’ve had in dance,” Raymond said.
On the other end of the spectrum, senior Elizabeth Acors ’20 explains what she loves about her experience at Pointe Blank.
“I just love all the people; they’re all so incredible, and all such amazing dancers and choreographers, it’s honestly incredible just to see what’s in their brains, and see it come to life on stage every semester,” Acors said. “I’ll miss being able to have fun with all these amazing people every week at practices, because probably after I graduate I won’t dance anymore, which is sad, but I’ve had such wonderful years with these girls dancing, so it’s bittersweet.”
Acors explained what her time with Pointe Blank has taught her.
“How to work well with people, and incorporate different personalities on stage, has been really interesting, and something that I’ve learned to do through this company,” Acors said.
Many audience members came to the event to support friends and expressed amazement at the skill and professionalism of the production.
“We came out to support … Lauren French, and I appreciate the variety of dances, it’s really cool to see all the different talents,” Annie Rossman ’21 said. “I haven’t been to any of their shows before; I would definitely go again.”
“I’m supporting a really good family friend; I’ve seen her dance forever, so it’s really cool to see her dance here,” John Lesko ’21 explained. “I really like the music they choose; I’m in an a cappella group, so I always get a lot of good ideas for songs to sing. Seeing the music put into physical movement is the coolest part for me.”
Ellie King ’20 and Danielle Brown ’20, who both dance with Syndicate on campus, came to the show out of a personal love for dance and a desire to support other dancers.
“We’re dancers ourselves, and we really like to support all of the dance groups on campus,” King said. “We come to the Pointe Blank show every semester, just because it’s so fun to watch. It’s really cool because the students choreograph it, and you know that going in, and you can still see this versatility.”
Brown agreed with King’s perspective.
“A lot of the people in this are in other dance clubs, or are in the dance club that we’re in, so we just love to see what they do in other capacities,” Brown said. “They have all these different styles, which is unlike any other dance group on campus.”
There were also many parents in attendance supporting their children in Pointe Blank.
Robin Leersnyder, mother of both a current and a past member of Pointe Blank, was very complimentary of the show.
“I think the level of dedication these people put into the show is absolutely amazing, considering they’re all keeping up with their studies as well,” Robin Leersnyder said. “The joy of dance and joy of music that is expressed here is phenomenal, and I thoroughly enjoyed the professionalism of all the dances. We come every season for the dance and we are always astonished by the high quality of the dance.”
Parents of new members were also impressed by the show, and hoped to see more performances by the company.
“It was very impressive that they can work together and be independent, and not have anyone directing it that isn’t a student,” Cindy French said.
Pointe Blank will be having another showcase in the spring of 2020.