A fruitful blend of delicate movements, storytelling and animalistic grace is making its debut at USF this week.
The Fall Dance Concert will feature the choreography of faculty members as well as guest choreographers from around the country. Some of the dance styles for this season’s performance include contemporary ballet, modern dance and even a new-age cultural mixture called transnational dance fusion.
This concert will embody the direction dance has taken in the modern world. Every piece displays the current focus the art form has evolved through the bodies of about forty of USF’s talented dancers.
Jacqueline Dugal, a senior majoring in dance performance and minoring in entrepreneurship, has been cast in two performances. The first is a contemporary modern piece by Michael Foley. This style breaks away from classical ballet, while still including some of its elements, and is combined with floor work, fall and recovery, and improvisation.
Her second piece is transnational fusion, brought in by Donna Mejia who is an assistant professor in the University of Colorado Boulder department of Theatre and Dance. This style is inspired by Middle Eastern dance.
“It evokes such a different type of feeling,” Dugal said. “There’s a sense of ownership of oneself and beautiful power in one’s own body and movement in a way that I haven’t experienced in contemporary modern or ballet because the style is so different.”
Sharon McCaman, a senior majoring in dance performance, will be in two pieces, one of which is a duet in classical modern. It will incorporate the Horton technique as well as some of the Dunham method. The Horton includes movements from Native American folk dance, Japanese arm gestures, and Afro-Caribbean elements. The Dunham incorporates contrasting simultaneous rhythms of dance, merging movements of the Caribbean and African cultures with European ballet.
Madison McGrew, a junior majoring in dance performance and biomedical sciences is performing in three duet pieces. Guest choreographer Maurice Causey, a former ballet master for the Royal Swedish Ballet and the Nederlands Dans Theater 1, orchestrated one of her dances.
“It’s so animalistic. It kind of takes on this whole other realm that you don’t even know if it’s human. It’s very cutthroat and really fun to get into,” McGrew said.
USF dance instructor and choreographer John Parks attended Juilliard and has performed at Carnegie Hall and the Metropolitan Opera. He was also the assistant choreographer and dance captain for “The Wiz” on Broadway and danced in the film version. As dance is a huge part of his life, Park’s encourages students to see the diversity in the Fall Dance Concert.
“It’s important for everyone to see art,” Parks said. “It’s a reflection of life. We have a particular kind of kinship of moving through time and space and relating that to communication. There’s a deeper intrinsic value in investigating oneself and one’s surroundings and understanding that from a creative point of view.”
The concert runs from Nov. 6 – 8 and Nov. 12 – 15 at 8 p.m., and Nov. 9 at 3 p.m. in Theatre 2. Tickets can be purchased in advance online or over the phone for $8 – $12 or at the box office the day of the show for $10 – $15.