Troy Theatre and Dance’s ‘Moving Pictures’ performance sets dance to photographs



Pradyot Sharma


The Troy University Department of Theatre and Dance will present its second edition of Art in Motion this fall starting Thursday, Oct. 24, at 7 p.m. The show, being held in the Trojan Center, features a concept where artists collaborate with student choreographers who bring their work to life through dance. 

This year’s performance will feature 11 dance pieces put together by 12 choreographers. The pieces are based on works by five Troy student photographers.

Choreographers picked photographs from the photographers that inspired them.

“From a choreographic standpoint, it was really good to find inspiration from art, something that is already artistic and making it even more artistic,” said Shelby Buchanan, a senior dance major from Huntsville, who is a choreographer for the show. 

Buchanan, whose piece is called “On the Line,” says it is about the fears and anxiety that go toward being vulnerable in a relationship.

Her work is based on a photo of a man and woman in a bush with leaves around them taken by Chloe Lyle, a senior graphic design major from Chattanooga, Tennessee.

“It’s actually a photo from an engagement session,” Lyle said.

 “I think that’s fitting because they are together in one place and they are in this thing that’s unifying, but there is a separation,” Buchanan said. “It’s cool how with visual art you can interpret it in a lot of different ways, and that totally works with applying it to a dance.”

Lyle said that she tries to combine fine art photography with client wishes in order to bring creativity to wedding photos.

The biggest challenge, according to Lyle, is giving control over to the choreographer as the story of the photo is now intertwined with the concept of the dance.

“It’ll now have a life of its own,” Lyle said, “but it’s exciting!”

Putting on a dance show based on another artist’s work is a challenge of its own according to Emma Twiggs, a senior dance major from Lewisburg, Georgia, who is the assistant artistic director for Art in Motion this year. 

“I think there is the challenge of the artist before, you, the photographer took this picture and had a concept and had a reason for doing this — but you’re taking it and adding your own vision and own concept,” Twiggs said. “So, there is the challenge to staying true to what they had in mind from the very beginning, as well as interpreting your own thoughts and feelings around it, so it’s an interesting balance.”

Both Twiggs and Buchanan have been a part of Art in Motion before and say that this year’s show features a lot more theatrical elements. 

The show also has a very heavy student involvement beyond just the choreography and dancers. 

“Its student lights and designers for almost every single piece, we got student stage managers, a student wardrobe crew, so everything you see happening, not just the choreography, not just the movement, is all put together by students,” Twiggs said.

The dancers in the program said they are inspired by strong personal bonds within the department that adds to the storytelling.

 “From a dancer’s perspective, our department is a family, we are one, so getting to tell these stories that are so important to our friends, our roommates, and our peers… it’s just humbling, its inspiring and its pure, so it’s a very unique show,” Twiggs said

Show times for Art in Motion are 7 p.m. on Oct. 24-26 and 2:30 p.m. on Oct. 27. There will be a short talkback where audience members can ask questions about the performance and the show process after the first three shows.  

Tickets are available online at and at the Trojan Center Box Office for $10. Students can also buy tickets at the Box Office for $5.

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