The First Year Showcase, a preview of what’s to come

The+Appalachian+Online

The Appalachian Online

Matthias Kramer

New students will have the opportunity to express their artistic skills this Thursday, Sept. 24 through Sept. 26, as the Appalachian theater and dance department will present the First Year Showcase.

The showcase provides freshmen and new transfer students a forum to display their talents and abilities in theater and dance on a live stage.

Trimella Chaney, an adjunct professor in the Department of Theatre and Dance at Appalachian State University, organized the theater aspects of the performance. To her, the “First Year Showcase is a wonderful opportunity that is … unique to [ASU] because [the university] is one of the few places that allows an event [like this] for freshmen.”

The result, she said, is that freshmen and new transfer students become involved in the department early on in their careers as students.

“It gives our faculty a chance to see who’s coming in, and it’s a good way [for new students] to connect on campus,” she said.

The dance performance is primarily choreographed by students.

“In dance we have student choreographers, and some faculty,” Chaney said.

Sherone Price, associate professor of dance at ASU, said the show is a chance for rising sophomores and juniors to choreograph. Price is the organizer for the dance portion of the showcase.

“[I] think [the showcase] is a great thing for the freshmen coming in because it doesn’t tie up their time for the whole semester,” she said.

The theater piece is a “devised piece,” Price said.

“[A] devised theater piece … means we’ve scripted it ourselves,” Chaney said. “The way our act works is that we have places on campus, and we ask the audience to yell out a location and we do a comic sketch about that location.”

Chaney said there are about 10 sketches from 10 locations, including the duck pond. “It’s a new order … [and] a new performance each night.”

The dance pieces being performed display a wide variety of dance styles. “The majority of the pieces being performed are contemporary and modern pieces,” Price said. “[But] there’s a hip-hop [and] a belly dance piece that one of our students is choreographing,” she said.

Lynton Martin, a freshman cell molecular biology major, will perform the belly dancing piece.

“People think it’s just shaking your hips, but it’s more about isolation of different parts of your body … it’s really quite strict,” Martin said. “My goal for the showcase [is] honestly to look the best I can, and to look like I’ve been belly dancing for … years.”

Martin has high hopes for the performance.

“[The audience] should look forward to being slayed,” he said.

Caroline Daniel, a graduate student in the mental health counseling department and ASU alumna in the dance department, is one of the guest choreographers for the performance.

“I’ve never been involved with the first year showcase before, so it’s new to me,” she said.

Daniel choreographed for many other main stage dance shows during her undergrad.

“[The First Year Showcase] is a new process for me in choreographing because usually I go into [choreographing] with a theme in mind,” she said. “And this time I just wanted to move for the sake of moving and to see where that takes me. It was a really quick process which was hard.”

The choreographers only had about three weeks to rehearse with the dancers.

“I’m used to choreographing over a course of a few months and this time it was four to six rehearsals, kinda nuts,” Daniel said.

Though the experience posed challenges, Daniel is still satisfied with the final result.

“[The dancers] were really timid and shy in the beginning, but as the process went on … they opened up,” she said. “They were really quick learners.”

For Daniel, dance is a unique method of expression.

“It’s a universal language,” she said. “There’s so much more to it than tricks or kicking your legs up really high. It’s about expression and going a little bit deeper.”

Daniel describes a sort of communication between the dancers and the audience.

“I would hope audience members experience that level of communication. That’s my goal for the showcase,” she said.

Daniel hopes audience members to come to the showcase with an open mind and with no expectations.

Price has similar goals for the showcase.

“It is to get people connected … the [new students] who are here, who want to do theater or dance, have all found love for the arts in that way,” she said.

The performance will take place at I.G. Greer studio theater Sunday, Sept. 27, at 2 p.m. Tickets for the show are $10 for adults and $5 for students.

Story by: Matthias Kramer, Intern A&E Reporter