After two years of hard work, the University’s first all-student choreographed dance concert was held in mid-March.
The dance pieces in the concert, held March 15-16, ranged from a recreation of Michael Jackson dance moves made famous in the 1980s, on pointe ballet, to a piece that mixed hip hop and modern ballet. Students in the show were students who wanted to choreograph or wanted to dance in a piece choreographed by someone else. The only requirement for participation in the concert was that the students be enrolled in one dance technique class.
“It takes a first step for the students to put their work out there.” Cari Cunningham a University modern dance instructor, said. “All of this is just empowering students to let them know they have something to say. As an instructor I want to give the students more opportunities to perform. ”
Auditions were held to determine which pieces would be part of the show. The staff that held the auditions simply were looking to see if the pieces were done and could be accomplished from start to finish. They looked for timing, costumes and to see if the dance piece could be executed cleanly. While maturity in choreography is always an issue for dance productions, for the most part, the restrictions were not very rigid.
Cunningham has been on staff for two years and was hired to not only help develop a major in dance but also to work on shows like the all-student production.
Cunningham coordinated with Mike Fernbach to secure an on-campus location for the student concert. Due to the excellent turnout and the invaluable collaboration of the faculty and students Cunningham is hoping to create more opportunities and shows like these in the future.
She hopes to see how the students will modify their work for more formal performances, such as the Fall Dance Festival and the Spring Dance Festival in Nightingale Concert Hall.
“The energy is growing and the ball is rolling, we want to see this grow. I’m excited I think the students did a great job in this show. I’m incredibly proud of them and more importantly they are proud of themselves,” Cunningham said.
From on pointe ballet to Michael Jackson dance moves, the dance students involved with the project are helping the University move toward a future of a major in dance and also toward more opportunity to share their work.