Last weekend, the first Ebony of the 2013-2014 academic year performed in Sayles. It was, as ever, a magnificent display of Carleton’s fierce side. On Saturday and Sunday Carletonian reporter Grace Black sat down with Harper Makowsky ‘14, Rebecca Brown ‘14, and Laramie Jensen ‘15 to ask them a few questions.
G.B: How did you become director?
H: Sophomore year I joined Ebony, and director nominations were about to come out and I kind of thought, you know what, I love Ebony, why not? I wrote a really impassioned platform (no idea if that helped), but I guess people could tell that I was super in love with it and I got the nomination.
R: I started doing Ebony my very first term here so I’ve done it every term. But after my sophomore year I got nominated, which had been my dream since Freshman year, and I became director my junior year.
L: When I prospied here I went to an Ebony rehearsal, so I signed up my freshman year and I’ve been doing it ever since. I was good friends with the director last year and it’s my biggest time commitment, so I just thought it would be really fun.
G.B: What’s your job description?
H: To run Ebony. You direct all the group dances, you organize choreographers, you choose the songs, you find locations for the rehearsals and shows. It’s a lot of very organizational things.
R: We each divvy things up, so for the most part I feel like I’ve taken care of a lot of the administrative stuff, in terms of dealing with spaces we can use and student organizations, but it’s also just leading 300 people. Answering emails is basically my number one job. We have group rehearsal every Wednesday all term, and people will email me like, “Do we have group on Wednesday?”.
L: To be a leadership presence, especially for new people because it can be a little intimidating at first. Definitely a big part was picking up equipment from the cities and the budget for the shows, finding locations, that stuff.
G.B: I hear it’s a big time commitment. How do you manage it?
H: Yeah. The biggest time commitment as a director is answering emails, and at the beginning and end of term when you’re organizing everyone and putting the show together. It’s all just about making Ebony a priority. That’s what one of the previous directors told me and it’s totally true: no matter what’s going on in your life, Ebony has to come first.
R: It’s so true. It’s a bit of a relief now that it’s done. Coordinating schedules is difficult between the three of us, so we have a lot of late night meetings to choreograph. I really use Ebony as a great procrastination tool. Sometimes I can’t do work because Ebony is my priority.
L: It was a big adjustment, but Harper and Rebecca did it last year and they were giving me tasks to get me adjusted. There’s only 3 of us this year since Elizabeth is abroad, so it was a big time commitment.
G.B: What’s been the best thing about the job?
H: I get to meet everyone and recognize so many new people on campus. I really enjoy the social aspect, especially welcoming the froshlings into what I consider a big part of my Carleton experience.
R: The performances are just so fun. I love the beginning when you can spot the freshmen who are gonna be so dedicated and enthusiastic right off the bat. It’s really nice and it reminds me of myself when I see them grow and improve.
L: Definitely the show. Just being able to know that you made the right choices with the dancers and choreographers and seeing the show all come together.
G.B: Have you noticed a change in Ebony since you’ve been here?
H: I think that in the past Ebony used to be kind of unorganized, and then it got a little too organized and demanding. So in the last two years we’ve tried to set a balance between the two, and to maintain a community. I hope that it’s remained a big, fun open space for everyone.
R: Other than this term when every dance was mildly sexual, not so much. I think the way we direct it is a little different. The three of us are pretty chill about a lot of things, in terms of group rehearsals. We try not to take up a lot of people’s time, since we know people are busy.
L: A lot of the things I really love about Ebony have definitely stayed the same, but it’s different being an authority figure. Last year we didn’t do spring term Ebony in West Gym, which has been a big tradition for a long time, and we’re trying to get that back this year.
G.B: Favorite dance?
H: I genuinely love all the dances, but Mike Bahn’s dance is really out of this world. “Ooh La La” by Britney Spears, it’s a ridiculous song, but so good. Torre’s dance is also pretty amazing but it makes you want to cry. In a good way.
R: I really liked my dance to “Lady Marmalade”, but I also really liked being in Torre Edahl’s piece, which was super beautiful.
L: I really liked “Ooh La La” by Mike Bahn.
G.B: Proudest moment?
H: My first term as director I choreographed a piece to the finale from Pitch Perfect, and it was my first time ever, and we only had three weekends to put it together, but my dancers were amazing and we managed to pull it off. And just having people come up to me and being like, “I toured and went to rehearsal and you made me want to come to Carleton!”
R: Saturday’s performance was crazy; everything that could’ve gone wrong went wrong, but we got through it. They showed Schiller, which was great because Schiller has been MIA for a while, but they were fighting over Schiller and knocking into the equipment we rented. Wires got unplugged, it was a crazy mess, but I don’t think the audience was super aware.
L: Seeing how well people, especially the freshmen, took on the show. There were no big costume malfunctions, and it was nice to see how much everyone had put into the show. Everyone looked really really good.