In its final series of the semester, the UA School of Dance is putting a special emphasis on student work, showcasing only performances by those in the program.
“Seasonal Treasures — Student Spotlight” will feature strictly student work and student performers, creating a repertory unlike any other, said Doug Nielsen, director of Seasonal Treasures and a modern dance professor.
“Sometimes, it’s the first dance they’ve ever choreographed, but it’s been in there all their lives just dying to come out,” Nielsen said. “Sometimes it’s personal, sometimes it’s about relationships and sometimes it’s more social.”
The series features 13 pieces chosen from an audition of 35 numbers by students within the School of Dance. Students prepared their work and then submitted it for careful review by dance faculty members. Those who were selected were assigned a faculty adviser, but ultimately made all artistic decisions on their own. Nielsen said those chosen were selected based on their preparedness.
“We try to choose dances that are really ready,” Nielsen said. “We choose the dances that are ready to go and then program them from that. … The faculty doesn’t choose a piece because we need a piece like that or a piece like this; it’s which ones are complete.”
The performance is unlike any other that the dance school performs in that it offers multiple perspectives, Nielsen said. Rather than the point of view of a single choreographer, audiences of this series will see 13.
“It’s pure, uncorrupted,” Nielsen said. “It’s not innocent because our dancers are very mature, but to see 13 points of view is very unusual … it’s very rare for a modern dance company to be a repertory company.”
Dance junior Brandon Coleman had two pieces he choreographed selected for the series, one of which also features him as a dancer. Coleman said it was an honor to earn a place in the Student Spotlight.
“It was a huge surprise,” Coleman said. “I wasn’t going into it to get into the show. My goal going into this year was to finish one [piece]. … It’s really an honor.”
Coleman’s first piece in the show is “MG Bytes,” which is performed by an all-male cast and designed to mimic the movements of Sonic the Hedgehog.
Coleman’s second piece, “Spin The Sky,” features dance junior Kelsey Walsh in what will be her first solo performance with the School of Dance.
“[Seasonal Treasures] does a great job of showing the talent of the dancers here,” Walsh said. “All these pieces are choreographed by us. … It showcases everyone’s love, ability and talent.”
Along with her performance of Coleman’s piece, Walsh will also premiere choreography of her own with her number “Glow.”
“I like to play with themes of light and dark and the powers of good and evil,” Walsh said. “It came from a really personal place. … It’s something that I keep close to my heart.”
Performances will begin today at 7:30 p.m. at Stevie Eller Dance Theatre and will continue through Sunday.
“I don’t think they’re making dances to please,” Nielsen said. “I think they’re making dances they need to make, that they really feel passionate about. It’s their voice.”
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