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OPINION: MDT and MJTCO Show Weekend From a Dancers Perspective

On Nov. 17-19, MDT (Meredith Dance Theater) and MJTCO (Meredith Jazz and Tap Company) had their main stage fall semester shows in Jones Auditorium. MDT is a contemporary and modern company that performs works from faculty, students and guest artists. MJTCO is a student-directed company that performs faculty, guest artist and student-choreographed pieces.

I have had the pleasure and privilege to be a member of MJTCO all four years during my time at Meredith. Because of this, I have watched my peers grow as dancers, choreographers, creators and humans. Watching the hard work of everyone involved come to life on stage and seeing the gratifying look of the choreographer when their work comes together exactly how they had envisioned it is one of the most special experiences.

My first semester in MJTCO was in 2020, and COVID-19 restrictions made having an in-person show impossible. Though we could still rehearse socially distanced, we began discussing how we could still have a virtual show. Company members got creative and decided to choreograph dances and film them to show all at once on a live stream for peers and family members to enjoy.

During the semester, dancers work tirelessly to rehearse and clean up pieces to showcase on stage. Based on my experience, this work is collaborative as well as creative and requires an immense amount of mental and physical strength.

The opportunities that are provided by the Meredith Dance Program have been incredibly welcoming and supportive to me. The faculty members prioritize inclusion and positivity in every aspect of the program, and my experience in MJTCO has been no exception. The avenues available for student choreographers to have an artistic outlet with their peers have created space for dancers to grow, learn and challenge themselves.

I was fortunate enough to have three in-person show weekends during my time in MJTCO, and I did not take a single one for granted. As a member of the Class of 2024, closing the chapter on my time with MJTCO was one of the first hard goodbyes of my senior year. I am so proud of the work of my fellow dancers, and I cannot wait to see all the wonderful things that MJTCO and MDT do next.

By Haileigh West, Associate Editor

Photos provided by Haileigh West, Associate Editor

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