By Nathaniel P. Reid
Variety is the spice of life, they say and the choreographers of Dance Alabama! are cooking up something fantastic for their audience. Whereas Alabama Repertory Dance Theatre (ARDT) showcases the excellent choreography of the Dance faculty, Dance Alabama! is a chance for students to choreograph new works of their own and set that work upon their peers. The process, like any endeavor in the art of Dance is an arduous one, but it offers the chance for each of these student choreographers to push their limits, promote their unique visions and styles and forge lasting relationships on a personal and professional level.
President of the student run organization, Alexia Acebo, cannot imagine what her time at The University of Alabama would have been like without the organization. “Dance Alabama! has shaped the last three years of my college experience as an artist unlike any other organization. I feel so blessed with the opportunity to lead my fellow artists during my last year here at UA!” Her piece, Cinc, took her to challenging new artistic realms. “As a choreographer, I have had the opportunity to create something brand new each semester, take risks and be completely myself. I hope the audiences enjoy my fresh, new, all male work this semester, unlike anything I’ve ever done before!”
“Dance Alabama! has greatly influenced my future dance career.” said Tanner Fant, excited to have the opportunity to challenge herself and her contemporaries. “Being surrounded by incredible student artists is not only a catalyst to succeed as a dancer and choreographer, but also inspires me to push the boundaries of my choreography and personal performance. My piece, The Gift of Disconnection, exposes deep emotional turmoil that I never would have had the confidence to dive into and create with if it weren’t for the great experiences I have had participating in Dance Alabama!”
Some of the pieces presented use Dance as a serious way to expose part of what it is to be human: “My piece, Carousel, is a commentary on the circular nature of humans to conform with the group.” Explained Grace Kurosaka. “I began this work with the idea of conformity, group mentality, and the reasons in which we comply with the social norms of an era. This type of mentality has always peaked my interest and it has been in the back of my mind as the world is changing.” Other pieces are more light-hearted expressions of love for the art itself: “After spending 9 weeks in New York City pursuing the Broadway Dance Center Professional Semester, I couldn’t help but enhance my relationship with theater dance,” disclosed Mckenzie Sherman. “For this concert, I have choreographed a high-energy musical theatre piece. My composition of Dancin’ Fool has allowed me to showcase my love for theater dance, while demonstrating its prominence in my life.”
“My piece, Til I Reach You, portrays friends growing together through a similar situation of leaving home and having to start over in a new place with new people.” Hannah Hall explains, reminding us of how difficult it can be to be a stranger. “As a freshman choreographer with all freshmen dancers, I am grateful that DA! has allowed us to make new friends and given me the ability to make an impact on the dancers in my piece. DA! has challenged me in unexpected ways. It has helped me grow as a storyteller through my choreography and to be aware of every detail that goes into each movement.” Morgan Moore, choreographer of the piece Question, reports that nobody is a stranger for long in Dance Alabama! “Dance Alabama! is my favorite part of this dance program. We have such a sense of community and I grow with every opportunity it presents me. Whether I choreograph or perform, I feel at home. I’m thankful to be able to do what I love every single day, and Dance Alabama! facilitates that.”
Dance Alabama! runs November 7-10 in Morgan Auditorium on the University of Alabama Campus. Tickets are $20 for adults, $17 for Faculty/Staff and $14 for students, available in Rowand-Johnson Hall at the ticket office, by phone at 205.348.3400 or online at ua.tix.com. More information on this production and the rest of the UA Theatre & Dance season can be found at theatre.ua.edu.