Department of Dance presents 2014 Spring Dance Ensemble

Department of Dance presents 2014 Spring Dance Ensemble

Kelsey Hamm

The Appalachian State University Department of Theatre and Dance 2014 Spring Dance Ensemble will showcase choreography by four students and three faculty members, and guest choreographer Rodger Belman, Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. in the Valborg Theatre.

Junior studio art and dance major Caroline Daniel choreographed a piece called “Per-sea-ve” that represents both her experiences with visual art and an exploration of the qualities of water. The dance also outlines the tension of the creative process.

“This dance shows us the moment where you are trying very hard to create something,” Daniel said. “And in the end, you just let go and it becomes what it’s supposed to be.”

Junior design and technical theatre major Wyatt Stanford is a lighting designer for the showcase. He choreographed the lighting for half of the pieces and took responsibility for supplying artistic vision on the technical end.

“It’s the lighting designers’ job to control the audience’s viewport into this world,” Stanford said. “When I’m designing, I’m looking at direction, I’m looking at color, I’m looking at a wide variety of things in an attempt to make the audience walk away with something bigger than feeling that the dance was good.”

More than 80 dancers auditioned for the ensemble and 50 made the final cut. The dancers were screened through a process of judged, small-group choreography and subsequent elimination rounds. Each choreographer collaborated extensively with musicians, technical directors and lighting directors to create the overall artistic feel of the final pieces.

“We have very diverse concepts and a wide variety of musical choices,” said Laurie Atkins, ensemble coordinator and assistant professor in the Department of Theatre and Dance. “All of the pieces are modern based, but they each have slightly different flavors.”

Faculty choreographer Emily Daughtridge designed the piece “Fuerzas Vitales,” or vital force, with the help of accompanist Shawn M. Roberts. The piece derives inspiration from the Orisha deities worshipped in the Yoruba religion of Western Africa.

“This is not a narrative piece, and it is not literal or meant to be an African piece,” Daughtridge said, “But it is a representation of different energetic forces in the world and how they can get stirred up and then maybe resolve and move to a more peaceful state.”

Guest choreographer Belman has worked with the American Dance festival and multiple dance companies in addition to his job as a faculty member at Florida State University.

The show will run Wednesday through Saturday. Tickets are $8 for students and $15 for adults.

Story by Kelsey Hamm, Intern A&E Reporter