Momentum gives back to the community through dance

By Mary Mattingly | 3/26/14 7:29pm


Courtesy / Sarah Magoon

While some dance concerts’ main function is only to spotlight performers’ talents, Momentum is also committed to proving that dance can be used to benefit the community.

“Our main focus is raising money for charity and performing charitable works, and we have found that dancing is a great way to do that,” said Carley Klebba, a senior dance major and vice president of Momentum.

Momentum is a student organization made up of dance majors and minors, but is also open to students of all academic disciplines. The organization works to educate the community about the beneficial, physical aspects of dancing, as well as give back by performing shows that raise money for local charities. This semester, the organization presents “Mass*Velocity,” a dance concert taking place in PAC 1600 on March 28 and 29 at 7 p.m. Proceeds will benefit the Van Andel Institute, a nonprofit medical research institute based in Grand Rapids.

“We want to do something that affects the immediate community of Grand Rapids,” Klebba said. “We knew our donations would be helping the community we live in.”

In the past, the organization has donated to charities such as the West Michigan Humane Society and the Manasseh Project, which educates people on human trafficking. At the beginning of each semester, the organization votes on the charities members want to assist.

“We all have to contribute six service hours; that is one requirement of being in (Momentum),” Klebba said. “A lot of us get a lot more than that — being in shows counts toward it, too. You feel like you’ve helped. Every semester we get to do everything involved in the university, being in a student group, and also in the greater Grand Rapids community.”

For the first time, the show will run for two nights to accommodate the high numbers of audience members it has attracted in the past.

“We expanded the concert to two nights so more people get the opportunity to see it,” said Carrie Brueck Morris, an assistant dance professor and adviser to the group. “In the past, we’ve had lines out the door of people waiting to get in.”

While concerts are free and open to the public, donations are encouraged.

“(Momentum) sets up dance as…being able to give back to the community,” Morris said. “That we are not just an elite art form for a few, but we can impact people through our art.”

The organization averages 40 to 50 students per semester.

“It’s an opportunity to see a lot of amazing talent and the interest that is in the dance student organizations on campus,” Morris said. “There are dance majors and minors involved, but there are also many students from (different majors) across campus. It’s a wider pool of talent for these concerts, which is exciting.”

The concerts put on by Momentum are entirely student-produced. Members are responsible for choreography, lighting, costuming, stage management and house management.

“It gives them an opportunity to produce full-length works,” Morris said. “They can apply things they have learned in the program, but also a lot of people at their university have choreographed at their own studios and other organizations. It’s a showcase for them, as well.”

All pieces are chosen and choreographed by students. “Mass*Velocity” features pieces from 13 choreographers.

“(The audience) can expect a variety of dance,” Klebba said. “There are some upbeat, fun dances and some more serious, technical dances; it will be a nice variety.”

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