‘Elements’ to debut diverse dance performance

Lacey Alexander

Staff Writer

Five guest choreographers, including a Troy alumnus, will have their work featured in the university’s spring dance performance this weekend.

The Troy University Department of Theatre and Dance will present “Elements” this weekend in the Trojan Center Theatre. The dance concert will feature dances choreographed by Troy faculty members as well as guest choreographers.

The first act will include four dances that represent the earth’s elements: earth, water, wind and fire. Closing the first act will be a fifth piece that combines all four elements.

The work of two guest artists is included in Act 1. “Fire” is choreographed by Tucker Knox, who was featured in the top eight in season 10 of “So You Think You Can Dance.”

“Beyond,” the piece that will close the first act, is choreographed by Cody Green, who performed in the Broadway revival of “West Side Story.”

Nicki Loud, the artistic director of the show, said that working with the guest choreographers is important for the education of her students.

“You have to stay true to the vision of these choreographers,” Loud said. “It’s important for the students to experience this part of dance education.

“Working with guests allows them to experience different choreographic styles, preparing them to be successful in this industry.”

“Encore,” the second act, includes work previously performed either on Troy’s stage or at the Alabama Dance Festival.

“These pieces are worthy of a second performance, thus the title, and that’s why we are bringing them back,” Loud said.

Theater students will perform in “Dancing Through Life,” a song from the Broadway musical “Wicked.” The number is choreographed by guest artist Trey Mitchell, who has choreographed multiple numbers for the “The Gallery Players” company in Brooklyn, New York.

“Dance is something that’s very connected to what we, as actors, do,” said Payton Buchin, a junior theater education major from Dothan. “There’s so many times where theater and dance feel separated, so whenever we get a chance to connect, it’s a really awesome thing.”

The second act will also feature a guest performance. “Patti Rutland Jazz,” a contemporary company from Dothan, is presenting “My Shot,” a dance choreographed by Troy alumnus Ryan Wagstaff to the music of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Broadway musical “Hamilton.”

Another musical theater piece in Act 2, “Deep in February,” is from the musical “29.” “29,” written by faculty member Tommy Newman, was originally performed by the theater department earlier in the semester.

Anna Maria Mollica, senior theater major from Alabaster, will be singing“Deep in February.”

“We both get to reflect the same person on stage,” Mollica said. “The body is such a beautiful thing… The audience will be so moved by it.”

The dance, choreographed by Loud, features Kenzie Haynes, a sophomore dance major from Nashville, Tennessee.

“I am representing the past self of the character, and Maria is representing the present character as she relives some painful memories,” Haynes said. “It’s a huge honor… it feels like the stakes are high.”

An African dance piece will close out the show, choreographed by guest artist and adjunct faculty member Kavin Grant.

Mati Anderson, a junior dance major from Nashville, Tennessee, said that this show reflects the change that the department has gone through.

“It’s really cool to see this program continue to grow,” Anderson said. “I definitely think this show has been the best show yet… it’s a culmination of everything we’ve worked on this year.”

This will be the last dance concert for Anderson, who will be studying abroad in Italy over the summer.

“To grow as an artist, I have to get out of my comfort zone,” Anderson said. “The study abroad option for dance at Troy has never really been explored, and I’m honored to be the guinea pig for that.”

The cast of “Elements” will perform for the public in the Trojan Center Theatre on April 21-23 at 7 p.m. and on April 24 at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 for general admission and $5 for students, and can be purchased at the Trojan Center box office.

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