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Graceful and relaxing

The world around us is hectic and disordered. Often we look inside ourselves for sacred grounds that help us relax. With that in mind, the USF Dance department decided to focus its show on self awareness.

Premiering this week, the show Gravity and Grace will include a program by Jeanne Travers, a professor in the Dance Department. Travers’ piece, “On Sacred Ground,” will feature an interdisciplinary approach to create the theme.

Travers worked with Middle Eastern singer Ahmed Ben Dhiab as part of a program that brought him to USF to sing with the students. Dhiab is known for his Sufi chanting, which is marked for its ethereal quality. Sufi is a Middle Eastern tradition that relies on repetition to create a circular feeling, Travers said.

It is the ethereal quality that defines the performance of “On Sacred Ground,” a piece that Travers said inspires a calming, graceful feeling. The show incorporates water and earth themes, and features two giant earthen pots that dancers use as props. The pots, made by Fine Arts Department ceramic artist Ed Ross, are earth toned and used for pouring water in the performance.

“(The piece) speaks to harmony and sacred space on Earth,” Travers said, “and the feelings that surround us.”

The show is low key, with only the two pots and dim stage lighting as the set. Travers said she is attempting to draw out the emotions of the audience, “rather than hitting them over the head with it.”

The performance is soothing, not dark, said Amanda Oost, a junior majoring in modern dance. It represents the personal sacred spaces that we all have.

“Your sacred place isn’t going to be extremely bright,” she said, “it is soothing, but not melancholy.”

Gravity and Grace will open Friday in Theatre I. Tickets are $12 for general admission and $6 for students and seniors.