Dance showcase to offer fresh take on choreography

Eleven seniors will move to the tunes of Enya, Jars of Clay, Janet Jackson.

The Senior Choreography Showcase will let Ball State students view dance in a fresh way this weekend.

"The community is more used to musicals and plays," said Diane Mueller, a choreographer in the showcase. "But this is good for this community to see a dance concert. Each piece has its own storyline."

This year, 11 seniors have pieces in the show with music ranging from classical to alternative rock. Janet Jackson, Moby, Jars of Clay and Oleander are a few of the artists senior dance majors have chosen for the show.

For Kat McGrath, deciding what song to use was easy. She picked the Blue Man Group because of its high energy.

"I heard the song over the summer," she said. "And I just started dancing. I saw all these leaps and jumps for it, and I thought, 'I have to do this.'"

McGrath laughs at the interpretation of her dance, and she said she worries people won't understand it.

"I have a DPX 400 model stereo in my car,"she said. "The dancers are like the equalizer lights moving with the music. The costumes are blue, neon green, red and orange like my stereo lights."

For Mueller, the meaning is a little deeper. She chose "Flood" by Jars of Clay and "Rain" by Enya for her piece. She says a lot of it is about Noah's ark, but that there is an individual inspirational as well.

"The music talks about a flood, and so this piece is also about overcoming the storms in their [audience's] own life," Mueller said.

Tiffany Wright decided to choreograph a jazz and ballet piece to Janet Jackson's "Trust." Wright titled her piece, "Behind the Curtain," because the dance reflects what goes on behind the scenes of performances. Wright says she really concentrated on challenging herself by using 11 dances and incorporating different elements of dance.

"This year I tried to make myself use just one song," she said. "It's pretty much the same style as last year, but I added a little ballet and more contrasts."

This showcase has been in the works since the first week of classes, said Sarah Manglesdorf, director of Dance. The seniors meet in the spring to begin organizing and planning for the show. During the first week of classes in the fall, auditions are held for anyone who would like to dance in the show. The choreographers then chose dancers for their pieces and practices begin.

One of the hardest aspects of the show for the choreographers is finding times when all the dancers can practice and then finding personal time to choreograph.

"Schedules are the main thing," said McGrath. "Everyone is so busy. Not only did I have to schedule rehearsals, but I had to choreograph on my own time. So finding time was really hard."

After the performances this weekend, the faculty in the dance department will chose one piece to perform in February at the American College Festival in Ann Arbor, Mich., and two pieces to perform in the Ball State Dance Company show in a couple weeks.

The Senior Choreography Showcase will run at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Student tickets are $3 by 3 p.m. Friday at the University Theater box office because seating is limited.


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