For a lot of dance and choreography majors, this performance was the premiere of not only a semester-long project, but what they hope to turn into a career.
The Mabel Brown Room ran out of floor seating with plenty of time before The Department of Theatre and Dance presented the Choreography Showcase 2014 on Friday the 5. People crowded the back walls and moved upstairs to nearly fill the balcony in order to see the performances. The Choreography Showcase is a night that gives dance majors and minors a chance to dance, present a choreographed piece, or both. The Department of Theatre and Dance offers TAD-318, a choreography class designed for juniors and seniors to oversee an original dance piece. The showcase allows for their dance to come alive with professional lighting and music system in front of friends, family and professors.
According to the agenda, the showcase this year featured 12 different student choreographers, eight of whom also performed in one or multiple other pieces. Not including choreographers, 24 dance majors and minors participated in the show. Eleven senior choreographers and one junior choreographer were presented.
Students had to audition at the beginning of the semester in order to be featured as a dancer in any of the pieces. Abbie Brown, the only junior choreographer of the show, explained the process as “tricky.”
“We have an open audition, and from there perform in different smaller groups. Then we figure out scheduling for practices and thankfully the dancers I wanted had schedules that worked out,” Brown said.
Brown choreographed the show’s closing piece, “Rebound,” to composer Zoe Keating. Each dancer wore gray ankle-leggings with bright-yellow tops. The piece began without music — simply the four female dancers deliberately exhaling together. Once the primarily violin soundtrack faded in, the girls moved across the stage to the instrument’s plucks.
At times the dancers seemed to help one another; one girl would be rapidly moving her arms and another girl would come to her side and ease her fervent movements.
When the music ended the girls continued to move slowly in a circle, audibly exhaling together fading out the performance.
Brown said she was impressed with her dancers. “I was nervous, but that’s probably the best run they’ve ever done,” Brown said, “You could tell they were enjoying being in the moment.”
Brown elaborated by saying her dance was about inner honesty. “I think it’s just about finding inner strength and joy and the true emotions that come out of that,” Brown said. Amid the crowd were Brown’s family and fiancee, one travelling from as far as New York to be present.
Junior and dance major Nicolette Webber performed in three different pieces: “In Flight” choreographed by senior Erin McNulty, “Within Limits” choreographed by senior Caitlin Sanford and “The Final Moments” choreographed by senior Brianna Magowan. Webber said she enjoyed being in multiple pieces as preparation for when she takes the choreography course.
“All three of the pieces had different ways of choreographing dance, so I saw different ways I’ll want to approach it next semester,” Webber said
Also in “In Flight” with Webber was senior and dance minor Lynsey Beatrice.
Beatrice said she enjoys the minor because she still has the opportunity to dance. “I didn’t want to be a major because I didn’t want to hurt myself. I’m a little bummed I’m not a major, but I love that I am still able to dance and be asked to be in pieces,” Beatrice said.
No matter the level of involvement, the Choreography Showcase enabled dance students to perform what they enjoy for friends and family. For some, it’s even a glimpse into their future.
Allie Baker can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org