Beginning this Wednesday, the Appalachian State University department of theatre and dance will present FADE, the 2015 Fall Appalachian Dance Ensemble. Running from Nov. 18 until the 21, the nightly performances will feature seven pieces choreographed by both faculty and students.
Of the seven pieces, three are choreographed by faculty members and four by students Erin Myers, Nisha Jackson, Raquelle Pollock and Miika Greenwood with subject matter ranging from zodiac signs to memories.
FADE coordinator Laurie Atkins said over 70 students auditioned to either choreograph or perform and 50 were selected to participate.
Performer Sarah Patrick, a junior history major, will dance for the second year in a row with FADE. Patrick will be featured in one piece, “Effervescence,” choreographed by junior Miika Greenwood and based on the beauty of ink in water. She spoke about working with Greenwood and the diversity of styles within the show.
“The piece I’m in is ballet, but there are also modern, African jazz, and contemporary pieces in the show as well. The choreographers are really talented,” Patrick said. “My choreographer, Miika, has been great to work with. She’s a perfectionist, so we’ve had to work really hard, but she’s also been very encouraging and a lot of fun.”
Patrick is dance minor and also spoke about her enthusiasm for both the style and cast of her piece.
“I’m especially excited this year because I finally get to perform in a ballet piece — which is the type of dance I did growing up. I haven’t gotten to perform ballet since high school, so I’m really looking forward to it,” she said. “I already knew most of [the cast] from having danced with them in previous shows and dance classes, so we were already friends. I think we’ve definitely gotten even closer by being in this performance together, and this is one of my favorite casts I’ve ever been a part of.”
The cast of “Effervescence” includes Jennie Flowers, Ashley Holliday, Danielle Neibaur, Sarah Patrick, Marissa Stockstad and Lucy Winesett. The piece will portray the seamless yet unexpected flow and image that ink creates, as per the vision of Greenwood.
Performer and senior psychology major Marissa Stockstad has been involved in various main stage productions since her first year, making her a veteran of the Appalachian State University dance circuit. She also cited the diversity of the performances as the event’s strongest feature.
“This show has a wide variety of dance genres, from balletic movement to modern and African,” she said. “There is also some live music that offers a diverse experience to the audience.”
Of her piece’s cast and choreographer, Greenwood, Stockstad had nothing but praise to give.
“Miika was a joy to work with and we always had a wonderful time in our rehearsals, both goofing around and making work together,” she said. “This piece only has six dancers, so we have been able to really bond throughout the rehearsal process. They are a very fun bunch and I’m so glad I got to know them better over the course of our rehearsals.”
Performer, Cedric Bowie, a senior history major, is new to FADE and is “loving it.” Bowie will be featured in two pieces: the African dance piece by Sherone Price and a modern piece by Laurie Atkins.
Price’s piece, entitled “TALK TALK TALK,” will be set to Afropop music from the Broadway musical “Fela!” and will explore conflict and resolution with energetic, full-bodied choreography.
Atkins’ work, “Playful Musings,” experiments with the juxtaposition of competition amongst dancers and popular music, including songs by Michael Jackson from “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin,’” Tom Waits from “Midtown,” James Brown from “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World” and Elton John from “Your Song.”
Bowie spoke highly of these choreographers, noting their commitment to their ideas and the performers.
“Each choreographer is showcasing their visions in various, unique ways through their dancers,” he said. “Judging from the experiences that I had with my choreographers, they always wanted us to find our ‘center’ and perform each movement to our full potential.”
For Bowie, who will graduate in December, FADE will be his last dance performance as an Appalachian State University student. For him, having audiences see the product of his hard work is the most exciting aspect of his last performances.
“All of the long hours of dancing that we have been practicing can finally be put on the stage, and students, faculty and other spectators can witness the final product,” he said, adding, “I haven’t seen any of the other dance pieces and can’t wait to see them as well.”
Keith Martin, who coordinates media relations for the department, spoke about his excitement as a spectator. Though not directly involved in the preparation of the performances, Martin identifies as a strong devotee.
“I’m in my fifth year as the John M. Blackburn Distinguished Professor of Theatre, and I never miss a performance,” he said. “I am a big fan.”
This is the last dance production of the semester. Performances will take place each night at 7:30 p.m. in Valborg Theatre, and admission will be $10 for students and $17 for the general public.
Story by: Jordan Parkhurst, A&E Reporter