DANCE 2015: Diverse steps, stories

BROOKE THAMES
A&E Writer

DANCE 2015
7:30 p.m.
Friday, April 10
Saturday, April 11
Karen Hille Phillips Center
$8 General admission
$3 Students

UPDATE, APRIL 11, 2015: A previous version of this story mistakenly reported the dates of the Dance 2015 showcase. The present version shows the correct date and time.

Dancers from every corner of the Pacific Lutheran University community are coming together to produce Dance 2015, this year’s dance concert showing at 7:30 p.m. April 10 and 11 in the Karen Hille Phillips Center.

The event is a showcase of dance performances choreographed by PLU student dancers. Dance 2015 brings PLU’s Dance Team, Dance Ensemble and various other students together to produce a night of dance created by and for the PLU community.

Students involved in Dance 2015 are either participating as a part of their dance-production class or are volunteers who simply love the art.

“The students come together because they want to explore dance, they want to have semi-professional experience in dance, and experience of performance,” said associate professor of Dance and Theatre Maureen McGill.

McGill is the director of this year’s dance event and has helped students to choreograph dance pieces that aim at communicating emotion and sharing sentiment with an audience.

“I think dance is beautiful because it allows you to be able to tell a story without words,” junior and PLU Dance Team captain Miranda Winter said. “Some stories, no matter how many words you use to describe them, are still not complete, and when you dance a story, you feel it with your entire body.”

Dance 2015 is comprised of 14 dance pieces, several of them telling stories that are centered on a variety of serious subject matter including police brutality, suicide and mourning lost love.

Black Lives Matter
Under the direction of Lute Nation captain and junior Jonathan Adams, Lute Nation’s step-dance performance will highlight the controversial topics of police brutality and modern justice. Titled “We Are Still Here,” Lute Nation is making sure no one forgets the importance of black lives.

“I feel like sometimes, through everything that’s going on, things are forgotten,” Adams said. “This is my way of [making sure] we remember about these people.”

Suicide
“Silence of Our Hearts,” choreographed by sophomore Abby Kheriaty, is another piece centered on a serious issue. Inspired by personal experience, Kheriaty is using dance to look at suicide from an observer’s perspective.

“I’ve watched people struggle, and I just wanted to do something to honor those [people] and help others understand what it’s like to go through that,” Kheriaty said.

Theatre, dance, capstones and the Caribbean
Senior Avelon Ragoonanan is the choreographer of a piece titled “Delights” that fuses theatre and dance together while showcasing Caribbean culture.

Inspired by Vaudeville entertainment, “Delights” is a burlesque-themed dance preceded by a theatrical piece that follows a young woman desiring to become a Vaudeville dancer at a prestigious club. Although the premise of the performance centers on Vaudeville, the song and choreography featured in the dance number are directly pulled from Caribbean culture.

“It’s a cultural piece that brings culture to the stage, but it also brings theatre, dance and a lot of elements of performance to the show,” Ragoonanan said.

“Delights” is not only Ragoonanan’s contribution to Dance 2015, but the performance also serves as his capstone project and presentation. The costumes, props and set decorations featured in the number are all hand-crafted by Ragoonanan.

“I have been the only choreographer to make all of my costumes,” Ragoonanan said. “I [also] have a chandelier, signs and symbols that are all hand-crafted.”

Bringing back the dead
“Baby It’s You, Messages from Deceased Heroes,” focuses on widows of soldiers who have died in war. Dance 2015 director McGill choreographed the featured piece.

McGill’s upcoming book of the same name discusses the messages that deceased loved ones send to those whom they’ve left behind, specifically widows of soldiers.

“[For the book], we collected messages from ordinary people who’d had experiences where they’d sensed their loved ones,” McGill said. “They’d smelled them, felt their touch, saw them, or had a dream about them.”

Drawn from the subject matter of the book, McGill’s performance depicts such women experiencing their lovers even after they’re gone.

First-year representation
Dance 2015 also features several first-year dancers who have had the opportunity to choreograph their own pieces for this year’s show. First-years Tessa Wright, Jesslyn Kenduck and Genny Mock have fulfilled the role of director in their own respective pieces featured in Dance 2015.

Dance 2015 shows are 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 10 and Saturday, April 11. Tickets for Dance 2015 are $8 General Admission, $5 Senior Citizens and Alumni, $3 PLU Community, Students and 18 and under. Tickets are available at the Concierge Desk in the Anderson University Center and can also be purchased at the door. 🅼

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