For those who missed the royal wedding but wanted to soak up some beauty and emotion Friday night, Eastern’s Spring Dance Concert was the event to attend. This tri-annual concert held in the McInnis Auditorium featured pieces created by students, guests and faculty choreographers alike.
The manifestation of months of grueling preparation and students’ quests for personal perfection.”We would keep running it and running it, all the while trying to get better—to be our best, but it was all worth it,” junior Kristin Gianoukas said about practicing for the concert.
In the performance, Liz Lyle wowed viewers with her piece “What Remains,” a social commentary on women’s and girls’ sometimes detrimental quest for beauty. Senior Heather Mahurin gave the audience a taste of her senior piece, a creation four years in the making, when she danced a solo titled “A Time to Embrace””The energy was so intense backstage,” first-year and self-proclaimed dance “newbie” Melissa Rennie said.
The night ended on a high note, or rather an Umfundalai, with a group number created by the acclaimed guest correographer Dr. Kariamu Welsh. Dr. Welsh invented the Umfundulai dance technique, an African dance practice that has been performed for 40 years. Dr. Welsh’s piece, “A Luta Continua”, also featured moves from collaborators such as guest tap artist Khalil Munir and faculty choreographer Saleana Pettaway with music provided by Master Percussionist Alex Shaw.
The audience vigorously applauded Dr. Welsh’s energetic and innovative piece. After the concert, a crowd of dancers fell silent as the guest choreographer approached to congratulate the elated group.”It was spectacular to watch you all,” Dr. Welsh said. “Congratulations.” Afterwards, the group tittered with excitement and the air was filled with that-was-amazing-s and I-can’t-believed-that-just-happened-s.
When asked for a quote that would sum up their night, a slight pause fell over the room. First-year Jasmine Bailey spoke up and said, “Tonight was an opportunity for diversity to show its colors.” All of the girls in the room cheered in agreement.The dancers’ emotional and artistic efforts were well received.
Kayla Davis, a junior dance major, shared her journey in choreographing her solo “Now or Never.” “My piece was a personal conversation with God,” Davis said. “I have found a way to express myself. Dance is my way of getting it all out.”Many of the dancers agreed that the university’s nurturing environment and sense of community has made this level of self expression enjoyable for both professors and students.