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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    ‘Boundless’ creativity through dance

    Ed Flores

    Courtesy of Ed Flores

    DeQuan Lewis and Lauren Powell perform a piece called “Along the Lines,” choreographed by Tanner Boyer, in the Stevie Eller Dance Theatre during a rehearsal of “Boundless” on Wednesday. The show will run through May 2.

    The UA School of Dance does more than teach dance. Learning the technique of the art is crucial, but art demands something beyond skill. Creativity and free expression allow it to endure and impact the world.

    In the “Boundless” production, UA dancers get the opportunity to be more than just students. Revealing their boundlessly artistic minds and spirits, students create original and elaborate pieces fit for the stage in a large-scale production.

    Mitchell McCroskey, a dance freshman, said students choreograph dances in whatever style they want. He added that the pieces -— including hip-hop, ballet, jazz and tap — are performed for the faculty, who then decide which pieces to put in the student spotlight show. The chosen choreographers get the rare and hands-on experience of putting all the elements of a show together.

    “If your piece gets in, your rehearsal process becomes a little bit more vigorous,” McCroskey said. “You keep rehearsing at your normal times, and then you also start rehearsing with tech. … You start to figure out more of the technical aspects of everything and lighting cues, and it’s just more in detail.”

    McCroskey performs in the opening number of the show, Brandon Coleman’s contemporary piece. McCroskey said Coleman had an interesting process of choreographing his dance for “Boundless.” His method revolved around collaboration and exchanging ideas with his peers.

    “He sent out an email to all of the UA dance members, and he asked if anyone wanted to do a piece with him,” McCroskey said. “He came in the first day, and he gave us three or four words. It was like ‘swoop,’ ‘catch,’ ‘throw’ and ‘dive,’ or something. We would get with two or three people, and we’d make up a sequence. … So then, eventually, he started putting sections together and arranging things and taking pieces from other people and making his own [choreography] with it.”

    McCroskey said the dance is to a song called “You Will Become” and makes him think about what his future holds.

    “As far as what it means to me, the dance is very freeing,” McCroskey said. “It gives me the liberty to kind of just let loose. … It’s just a really feel-good dance. I don’t really know how to explain it. It’s just this amazing feeling of you’ve accomplished something.”

    Mariesha Nash, a dance senior, said she appreciates the student spotlight performance because it gives students from freshman to senior year a chance to invent their own choreography, unlike many other dance schools.

    “Everybody just works so hard on what they’ve done, and you get to see so many different sides of everybody,” Nash said. “Half the people, I’ve never seen them dance like that ever, and it’s just so awesome to see everybody’s creativity and their individuality that you don’t always get to see in technique classes. … Everybody just wants to be there. This is our show. This is something we put together.”

    Nash, who is in three different dances in “Boundless,” said Tanner Boyer’s contemporary piece is her favorite student piece that she’s ever performed at the UA.

    “It’s a spoken word kind of like a TEDTalks thing, but he’s talking about the mime and all these different things, like how when you stress and how you’re thinking so much,” Nash said. “It’s funny, because the audience actually was laughing [because] they could identify with it even though it’s not a funny thing. … It just is a piece that really got me thinking, and I just really love doing it.”

    As a senior, Nash leaves the School of Dance this year, taking more than just the skill of dance with her.

    “There are so many people that come literally to every show every year, and they remember everybody,” Nash said. “If they could remember me just being a shy little freshman and then all the sudden, senior year I’m leaving and all these things — just how much I’ve evolved, how much I actually love what I do. If they could just get that from my performance, I’d be happy.”

    “Boundless” will show through May 2 at the Stevie Eller Dance Theater.


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