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Saturday, May 15, 2021

Dance majors share seven student-led performances

Bright lighting illuminated the dancers as they moved to flowing choreography composed by Western students.

Western’s theater and dance department held four showings of Winter Dances Jan. 19-22 in the Performing Arts Center.

Dance majors performed a seven dance performance and choreographed all but one of the dances. Professor Nolan Dennett offered artistic direction to all of the dances.

“It was intense and invigorating.”

Dance major James Innes

“A-lure…ing,” “Mine,” “Ostinato,” “A day in life,” “Dancing with La Loba,” “The Gathering” and “Waxing and Waning” are the names of all the dances performed. Each has a distinct lighting design, costume and theme.

Junior Toshinae French said people aren’t going to expect her dance, Waxing and Waning. She is most excited about the reaction to her piece.

“Personally I look at my piece as the black sheep of the performance tonight,” French said. “I went all out and I’m really proud of it.”

French’s dance, “Waxing and Waning,” along with Dennett’s dance, “A-lure…ing,” will be representing Western at the American College Dance Association Festival this spring.

There were no boundaries with the style of dance for their choreograpy, French said.

“[The dances] are really abstract and beautiful contemporary movement,” French said.

Sophomore James Innes, a dance major was a part of “A-lure…ing” and performed the dance last spring quarter.

“It’s like an action movie,” Innes said. “It’s less fancy and it’s intense and powerful. It looks more like superheroes and supervillains than dancing.”

Innes said the dancers were pushed hard.

“It was intense and invigorating,” Innes said.

Winter Dances is the only performance for the Dance program choreographed by students. To be a choreographer, dance students had to take a series of courses. The choreographing itself was part of the third course.

The theatre department also takes care of costumes and lighting, making the show nearly entirely student-run.

Dancers auditioned at the beginning of fall quarter.

“It was collaborative with the choreographer,” Innes said. “My favorite part is sharing the art we create with people.”

Senior Kelsie Creighton, a psychology major, went opening night to cheer on French, who is her roommate.

The highlight was seeing her roommate’s choreography after months of talking about it, Creighton said.

“It was a great opportunity,” French said. “I really loved it.”

Keeping an open mind is the most important thing when it comes to a dance show, French said. It’s not good to spend the performance looking for meanings in each dance, even though many of them do, she said.

 

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