Originally choreographed dance pieces will showcase performances by 11 Troy students when the theater and dance department presents its student fall dance show this weekend.
“Common Threads” is completely student choreographed and designed. It will show the work of nearly 50 theater and dance students when it opens to the public on Thursday, Nov. 10.
“We look forward each year to our student choreography concert because we get the chance (to see) the artists our students are becoming,” said Deborah Hicks, coordinator of dance at Troy. “Giving students practical opportunities to bring their vision to life is vital to their education as performers.”
The theater and dance department produces a student-choreographed showcase every year, with the choreography selections being carefully chosen by the dance faculty at Troy.
“Troy Theatre and Dance seeks to produce students who have their own creative voices,” said Tori Lee Averett, chair of the theater and dance department at Troy. “What a real opportunity for them to test their conceptual ideas, leadership and choreographic skills.”
Ten different dance pieces each had a student choreographer, a student choreographer assistant and student lighting designer. Some students, like Ashley Pettit, filled multiple roles.
“It was really cool for me to be both a choreographer and a lighting designer,” said Pettit, a senior dance major from Atlanta. “It’s so exciting to watch something that’s going on in your head move onto the stage.”
Averett said that learning these various skills was important for the dance students’ education.
“We aren’t just preparing dance students to be performers,” she said.
Dancers auditioned with a different segment of the 10 different dances, allowing the student choreographers to cast their pieces.
“It shapes you into who you would want to work with,” Pettit said.
“It’s a terrific way to show students the flip side of what’s going on,” said Dominique Angel, who teaches ballet at Troy. “You now know what that process feels like … to know what other people are looking for when they see you.”
Carly Smith, one of the student choreographers, said she wants the audience members to have their own individual interpretations of her piece.
“Take what you want out of it,” said Smith, a junior dance major from Troy. “We just want the audience to feel something.”
“In Carly’s rehearsal, we have more artistic freedom as dancers,” said A’lexus Crooms, a sophomore dance major from Orlando, Florida. “We want the audience to contribute their own ‘thread’ to all of ours.”
This dance show will be unique in that it will be the first full dance production in Long Hall, as dance shows in the past have been in either the Trojan Center Theatre or Crosby Theater.
“As a dancer, it scares me to see people in the audience,” Crooms said. “I’m kind of a little terrified … But it will help me emotionally connect with the audience a lot better.”
Smith and Pettit both said the support from the faculty has been a big factor in the success of the show.
“We have choreography reviews every Friday, and at first it was so intimidating,” Smith said. “But I got nothing but helpful feedback, and that helped me so much.”
“It helps when there’s people that believe in you,” Pettit said.
“Common Threads” will be in the Long Hall dance studio this Thursday, Friday and Sunday at 7 p.m. Tickets are available in the Trojan Center box office for $5.
Students can also purchase $1 tickets in the Trojan Center Dining Area from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Thursday and Friday of this week.