This year's Spring Dance Concert will include a vast range of performances, from the debut efforts of first-time dancers to a dynamic solo piece by Nyama McCarty-Brown, a visiting faculty fellow.
Charlotte Griffin, assistant professor of theatre and dance and the show's producer, was quick to highlight the benefits of watching dancers of all levels.
"First of all, we have the robust energy of the beginner dancer. I really appreciate the enthusiasm with which they take the stage," she said. "We get to see a raw little nugget and more refined products."
Griffin said the audience can expect to see "how work manifests over a creative process. So they'll get to see sketches and also independent study work, which is more fully developed and has more dancers involved. It looks at choreography in a different way."
Junior Natalie Johnson '13 will be presenting the culmination of her year-long independent study in choreography. Johnson's piece, "Beloved," is a three-suite arrangement; each suite will feature a poem and song. An ee cummings poem, one of Johnson's own poems, and a William B. Hunt poem will accompany a French Baroque operatic piece, the Ray Charles version of "Baby, It's Cold Outside," and a jazz song sung by Christian McBride, respectively.
"The poetry is a very integral part of the piece. I don't think people normally see poetry as interpreted through dance, but I'm not trying to be so abstract that it's inaccessible," said Johnson. "The choreography is trying to extract the tone from the poem, not a literal interpretation."
Other pieces in the concert will be less abstract. Gwyneth Jones, senior lecturer in dance performance, will be commenting directly on the private and professional spheres with her Modern I: Repertory and Performance class' piece.
"I wanted something that was about the relationship between home life and work life—one that had a theme people would understand, conveyed through music and props," Jones said.
Jones' piece will be set to a song by The Roches, the lyrics of which describe the tedium of household chores like doing laundry.
Her second piece is more abstract, forgoing lyrical music and props entirely.
"For my 212 Modern II: Repertory and Performance class, I found some Brazilian music that has little sounds, no meaning. I was working the idea of movement being a language," Jones said.
Each professor's passion for the process of creating a piece with students was immediately apparent.
Jones grew excited when describing the "aha" moment when a struggling student finds the inspiration they need to improve.
Griffin said her first "priority is helping the student excel. I want them to reach their fullest potential and beyond. The reason I do what I do is to watch the students grow. I love learning, which is why I teach. I get the opportunity to see someone problem solve and accomplish tasks. It really helps me to learn, too. It challenges the way I might think about accomplishing a certain movement or a certain challenge."
The annual Spring Dance Concert will run April 19 through April 21 at 8 p.m. The concert will take place in Pickard Theater, Memorial Hall.