As much as the students in the UA School of Dance enjoy working with and learning from the faculty choreographers, it is always exciting to let their own artistic visions take the reigns and allow their creative juices to flow.
With the spirit of giving in the air, the UA dance faculty has stepped out of the director's chair and off to the sidelines for the school's upcoming show, giving the students a turn at honing their choreographic technique. This weekend, UA dance's spectacular season continues as it presents its annual student spotlight concert titled ""In the Season.""
Different from other dance concerts throughout the year, where dancers get to show off their talents in faculty-created works, all of the pieces featured in ""In the Season"" are choreographed and performed by the students alone. While this is an exhilarating opportunity, it is also an enormous undertaking. Faculty members only serve as mentors in the process, offering advice to the aspiring choreographers.
Thus, students receive an in-depth look at all that truly goes into creating a work. They have the sole responsibility of selecting dancers to perform, creating and teaching choreography to their casts and auditioning their pieces for slots in the show. That's right, not every student can present a work in the concert. Like most everything in the dance world, there always seems to be more dancers than there are parts, making auditions inevitable.
In early November, 25 student-choreographed works competed for the 10 valuable slots in the concert's program. The audition was held in the Ina E. Gittings studios on campus with UA dance faculty serving as the adjudicators. Something of an informal performance in itself, by the end of the night the faculty had the difficult task of selecting the best pieces among the many spectacular works. However, after much deliberation, the instructors narrowed the list down to the 10 works which will compose the ""In the Season"" program.
Jared Baker, a dance freshman, was thrilled when he heard that his piece was chosen to be in the show.
""Being a freshman, I haven't really wanted to choreograph a piece for student spotlight for very long at all. I was almost not going to do it, but my friend convinced me to do it, so I just gave it a shot. I've always been interested in choreography and taught a lot of my own combinations at my studio back home. The only other full piece I have choreographed was the senior dance at my studio last spring.""
However, for Baker, the process of creating the dance proved to be just as rewarding as the honor of getting selected.
""I think the thing I've learned the most is always being prepared, and even over-prepared. After the first day of rehearsals, I realized how quickly these dancers could pick up choreography, and I had to adjust the next time and have more material ready. They are all extremely talented dancers and work at a fast pace, so I have always had to be prepared for the next rehearsal, making sure we were working the entire time.""
Featuring dancers Ryan Moguel, Bridget Krouse, Emily McTernan, Natalie Eramo and Hayley Frazier, Baker's piece is set to the instrumental melodies of Album Leaf and explores how different people react to change. ""Change is something inevitable,"" Baker noted. ""We all must face it to grow, learn and move forward.""
Highlighting an assortment of dances differing in style, music and ensemble, ""In the Season"" is sure to offer a flavor that will satisfy every individual taste. From a funky hip-hop number choreographed by sophomore Guy Amir, which showcases 34 UA dancers, to the more fluid contemporary routine by Baker, ""In the Season"" has it all. Even an all-male cast dancing to a work by the choreographic trio of juniors Annie Kim, Morgan Larson and Leslie Bitong is on the night's roster.
A great close to the first semester of UA Dance's ""The Legacy Series"" concert season, ""In the Season"" is a show not to miss. It is a chance to see the blossoming talents of future choreographers and witness the flourishing technique of aspiring dancers. So grab a ticket, take your seat and watch the UA dance students take the spotlight.