Contemporary, hip-hop, ballet, all that jazz: Entertaining the College, Pointe Blank Dance Company performs its captivating showcase to spectators


Saturday, April 22, the College of William and Mary’s Pointe Blank Dance Company held its semesterly showcase, “Don’t Stop the Music,” in Commonwealth Auditorium. Pointe Blank members specialize in a wide array of music including, but not limited to, contemporary, lyrical, tap, hip-hop, jazz and ballet.

Molly Grottkau ’23, a dancer and choreographer for the dance company, shared the underlying theme of the showcase. 

“The overall theme in the end was ‘Don’t Stop the Music,’ so I think it was really just about dancing and expressing yourself, more than anything,” Grottkau explained. 

The showcase was primarily in a contemporary style, with dances like “Green Light” featuring music from Lorde to the “Finale” dance featuring Rihanna’s “Don’t Stop the Music.” The showcase also included elements of ballet, jazz and tap. It was a visually compelling show, with colored lights accentuating the performances as dancers twirled, tapped and jumped in the air in different formations. The showcase’s 20 dances presented a variety of different emotions; some contained a subdued sadness while others were more intense and jubilant. 

The dancers were highly skilled in portraying these different, complex emotions in synthesis with the music. In a demonstration of the many genres shown, costumes ranged from flowy, drapey white pants worn alongside ethereal music as seen in “This is Water” to casual jeans with a t-shirt during “Sittin’ On the Dock of the Bay,” which leaned into rhythm and blues.  

The second-to-last dance was the Senior Dance, which was choreographed to the song “Upside Down” by Jack Johnson. Overall lyrical with jazz elements, the Senior Dance ended with a ballet move called a révérence which is traditionally done in ballet classes at the end to thank teachers. The révérence appeared almost curtsy-like. For these graduating seniors, the révérence was their last acknowledgement of the audience as well as their last thank you to the College for supporting them. 

“The Senior Dance was more of a light-hearted piece,” Grottkau, one of the five choreographers of and dancers in the piece, said. “You could take it [with] darker tones, but we didn’t feel like that was who we are as people. We wanted to reminisce back on our childhood.” 

This idyllic childhood element indeed served as a recurring theme throughout the performance. Dancers waved their arms to mimic spinning as the lyrics mentioned going round and round, and there was an emphasis on free-flowing movements. The ballet influences were not heavy-handed in the piece but rather casually inserted. Based on the slideshow for the seniors at the beginning of the performance, it was evident that some of them had done ballet from a young age, which made the inclusion of ballet elements fitting and emotional. 

The last dance was aptly titled “Don’t Stop the Music,” featuring 31 dancers and made for an energetic ending. The performers demonstrated their strong support for one another as they pointed to each other as a gesture for the audience’s attention. Performers also seemed to quickly hug one another in between solos and before taking center stage. These instances hinted at the hours of cooperation that occurred during rehearsals and continued into the showcase. Grottkau said this kind of collaboration was necessary to get through the preparation process.

“We’re student-choreographed, and we’re fully run by our own dues,” Grottkau said. “We don’t get money from the school. Choreographing can be really tough and intense.”

Rehearsing for the showcase was a rigorous, semester-long process. There were roughly six hours of rehearsal every week, with performers having specific times based on their dances.  There were also two three-and-a-half hour long dress rehearsals to prepare for the recital. 

For Erin Jones ’26, a new member of Pointe Blank who performed in four dances during the showcase, the weekly rehearsals helped her seamlessly integrate into the Pointe Blank community and find a sense of belonging. 

“It’s important to know that everyone’s just really welcoming and nice, and right away I felt that I was making friends and that I felt like I belonged,” Jones said. “I just loved to show up to rehearsals every week.” 

With Pointe Blank welcoming all dancers of varying expertise levels, Grottkau encouraged anyone with a strong love for dance to audition. 

“You need a passion for dance, and obviously…we have an audition process, but… we allow anyone to join, we don’t really base it off experience,” Grottkau said.

Audience member Tiernan Gatsby ’24 enjoyed the showcase, which was not the first she had seen from Pointe Blank.

“They dance really well together, and it makes it interesting to watch,” Gatsby said. “The nice thing about the Pointe Blank shows is that they each have a theme.”


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