On April 12 and April 13, Eastern University’s graduating Dance Majors performed their Senior Thesis Dance Concert. The four graduates were Neeka Skelton, Gabriella Williams, Alexandra Swank and Emily Pastin. Each of these seniors choreographed a selection of dances.
The first quarter of dances were choreographed by Skelton. She titled her section “Perichoresis,” which is a Greek word that describes the relationship of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Her selection of songs were very upbeat. All of the dancers wore yellow sundresses and most of the dances were performed by a group, typically with three dancers. There was a song for each part of The Trinity, and these dances contained repeating motions. This showed the interconnection of all three.
The second quarter of dances were choreographed by Williams. There was a stark change between Skelton’s dances and Williams’s dances. She titled her section, “A Time For Everything.” The costumes for her section were more plain and sophisticated. They wore simple black and blue dresses. She incorporated background lighting to show silhouettes of the dancers at times. She had a mix of slow songs and then quicker songs. She had a Spanish-inspired dance in the middle of her selection that added an upbeat twist in her music. Her last two songs were “Amazing Grace” and “Eternity.” The first dance was performed by a group and brought a Christian theme into her mix. The last one just featured her and was a beautiful finish to her section.
Swank’s section of music contained a theme for refusing family dysfunction and domestic violence. Her first two songs showed happy relationships with couples of dancers dancing with each other in an emotional and caring way. However, the theme changed in the next song where the dancers danced around one girl and imitated physical abuse. This dance showed couples going from dancing to fighting with each other. It showed the emotional toll of physical abuse and put the audience on edge. The song “Resilience” was a solo dance by Swank herself. Rather than music, it was a spoken word recording about divorce and how it changes everything, but how one will survive through the hardship. The last song was upbeat and hopeful among the emotional rollercoaster of the previous dances. It was titled “You Are Enough” and brought a message of self-acceptance.
The last section was by Pastin and was titled “Life is but a Dream.” This series of dances appeared to be happening in someone’s dreams, as the first song was a brief couple of seconds. The lighting was dark and there were stars lit up above the dancer. It showed them falling asleep. The song after this introduction was a mix of ballet dancers and street dancers. The ballet dancers wore dresses and danced eloquently, while the street dancers wore jeans and sneakers and did modern, popular dances around them. It was humorous and could definitely have been the result of crazy dreams. The next dance began with another introduction. This was a short couple seconds of jazz music danced to by Williams. It was the introduction to my favorite dance number of the whole concert. Pastin, Skelton and rest of the graduates did a tap dance piece to “Settle Down.” It was a very fun piece where they used the rhythm of their tap shoes and clapped to the music. It was a very dynamic, intricate dance that amazed the audience. It really showed how hardworking and talented the graduates are.
The concert finished with all of the dancers coming on stage and bowing to the audience. The four seniors were the last to bow, and it was a bittersweet finish to the concert. The well thought out themes for each of the sections and the messages that each of the dances delivered were a display of the passion and drive that they each brought into their years at Eastern. The fact that they not only chose their songs and themes themselves, but also choreographed each and every dance is incredible. They really showed their unique personalities and professionalism in their last dance concert. I am really happy that there was a large turnout to this concert, as these girls really deserve appreciation for the hours they put into their dances.