Seniors finish collegiate dance career

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    A group of 14 seniors from the School for Classical and Contemporary Dance will take the stage this weekend in the Senior Dance Choreography Capstone Concerts for a farewell dance performance.

    Elizabeth Gillaspy, an associate professor of ballet, said the concert would showcase what the dancers have learned over their last four years in the dance program.

    “[The dance concert is a] beautiful representation of the peak experience of their four years here, a representative experience of how they are pulling together all of the things that they have learned and encountered,” Gillaspy said.

    She said each of the 14 seniors would choreograph their own dance piece and that together they would produce the show.

    Senior ballet major Brie Lowry said students divided into teams to cover the different aspects of concert production, from the technical side of getting the theater ready to creating promotional flyers and putting together the program attendees will receive at the performance.

    Gillaspy said although the pieces would fall within the styles of ballet or modern dance, the concert would bring together a collection of individual interpretations.

    Lowry said her piece dealt with friendship. She said it was a concept she had been thinking about for a while, but she finally got to cast the right dancers and put the idea into motion this semester. She said the piece resonated with her emotionally as she choreographed it as a testament to her own personal friendships.

    “I make pieces for my dancers, not for myself, and I wanted this piece to be for my dancers and really be something they would cherish,” she said. “And that means something to them and myself.”

    Senior ballet major Hayley Mansfield said students worked toward the event during the whole spring semester. Since January, students had been formed their ideas for their pieces and began weekly rehearsals that lasted up until the performance, she said.

    Mansfield said her piece will consist of classical ballet. She said she chose classical because it reflected her deep passion and appreciation of the style.

    Gillaspy and Susan Douglas Roberts, a professor of dance, provided consultation throughout the semester for senior dance students crafting their pieces of choreography.

    Mansfield said the concert usually was held in a studio space within the dance building. Because the building is under construction, the performance was moved to Buschman Theatre.

    She said having the performance in the theatre gave it a more professional feel because of the theatre’s stage and the theatre’s space for a larger audience.

    The only element of the concert not produced specifically by the dance seniors was the lighting design, which was done by the lighting design class taught by Roma Flowers.

    The elements of craft, artistic statements and how to bring points of view forward through the dance choreography would all shine through at the concert, Gillaspy said.

    Mansfield said the group was divided with one half of students performing in Program I on Friday and Saturday and with the second half performing in Program II on Saturday and Sunday.

    Gillaspy said it was a wonderful process to see a student create a piece of choreography from idea all the way to the final performance.

    Senior Capstone Concerts

    When: 7 p.m. Friday (Program I), 2 p.m. (Program I) and 7 p.m. (Program II) Saturday, 1:30 p.m. (Program II) Sunday

    Where: Buschman Theatre

    Admission is free.