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RU dance students present original choreography

Dara Watson

Dance major Dara Watson rehearses for the Student Showcase. Photo by Kelsy Rupp' 14.

Five dance majors will present their creative works in the 2014 Student Choreography Showcase April 23 and 24. This year’s performances are part of the Radford University Student Engagement Forum.

The Forum is platform for the highest levels of academic achievement and creation of new knowledge at RU, the campus community’s undergraduate and graduate students’ creative works, scholarship and research. In its 23rd edition, this provides an opportunity for students to experience attending and presenting at a conference environment without the typical travel and registration costs. 

“One of the most impactful experiences a university can offer a student is to work one-on-one with a faculty member on a project. Although this often brings up the image of someone in a lab, no one works more closely with students from the time they enroll than the performing arts,” says interim director of the Forum, Dr. Joseph Wirgau, “The Student Choreography Showcase is a wonderful example of what can result from the skills learned over years of close mentoring.”

Deborah McLaughlin is the professor for the Choreographic Studies II class and has mentored these five students in their solos and group. All are seniors, except for Shannon Comerford, who is a junior. 

McLaughlin discusses the mentorship, "It has been exciting to watch these five students create original work on themselves and on larger groups. They get to work closely with faculty in the Department of Dance, sometimes being mentored by more than one professor, which challenges them to go deeper in the creative process. The work they have produced for the Student Choreography Showcase is both powerful and thoughtful."

The Student Choreography Showcase features work by Caitlyn Clark, Shannon Comerford, Kelsy Rupp, LeeAnn Walker and Dara Watson.

Caitlyn Clark’s “Two Sides to Goodbye…” is a memoir of her recollection of saying her final goodbyes to her grandfather and sending her brother off to war. In her solo piece, “The Mourning After,” Clark explores the different emotions felt when dealing with the passing of her grandfather.

Shannon Comerford presents “My newest venture and then there were six…,” which pulls inspiration from King Henry VIII and his six wives. The piece focuses on the ghostly presence of the wives and the transition of the king’s psyche upon reflection of his past marriages. It imagines a world where he felt remorse for his actions against his wives.

“Groups of 4…Maybe 5” is Kelsy Rupp’s examination of the stereotypical relationships between girls in a school setting. It challenges the audience to see that these relationships that exist beyond high school and through entire lifetimes. Rupp’s solo “how I learned to love my mess,” finds inspiration in the ramifications of being a type A personality, being part of a divorced family, and “all that comes with a life which includes several jobs, moving, a heavy dance schedule, full time student work; a messy, busy life.”

LeeAnn Walker’s “Transitions” is a solo performance that looks at the transformation and growth she gained within her identity throughout her college career. “You Won’t Fall Again” is a piece set on seven dancers and is a continuous play on relationships through time and space. The choreography utilizes neoclassical ballet that fuses classical pointe and contemporary dance movements.

Dara Watson offers “Style,” which is about five mannequins in a retail store who come to life during closing hours. The mannequins are quirky and awkward, though they remain emotionless. “New Beginnings” is a solo she choreographed for herself and centers on the theme of motivation and encouragement received throughout her life from family and friends

The Student Choreography Showcase is Wednesday and Thursday, April 23 and 24 at the Albig Studio Theatre in Peters Hall, Room B112. Both performances start at 7:30 p.m. and are free to the public. For more information about the performance, please call (540) 831-5162. To learn more about the Department of Dance, visit www.radford.edu/dance. More information about the Office of Undergraduate Research and Scholarship is available at www.radford.edu/ours.

Apr 21, 2014

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