As the fifth event of the VCU Dance 2016-2017 Season, “Path Finders” will feature students performing dances choreographed by other students.
Last November, the VCU Department of Dance and Choreography had an adjudication, in which any student in the Dance Department could choreograph a dance and submit it. The faculty watched these and chose dances to be performed at the concert.
Student choreographers whose works were chosen – Taylor Black, Marcela Chavarria, Mariah Eastman, Michelle Koppl, Callie Moore, Aaron Salas, and Kari Schackmann, have been working with other dance students whom they picked personally for their dances.
The students taking the roles of choreography, song choice, and choosing/working with their dancers leading up to the performance gives them the learning opportunity to be on the other side of instruction.
“All three of my dancers are really great,” said Black, the youngest of the choreographers, as a sophomore. “They’ve really worked with me as far as figuring out what works best and they really have been able to capture the images that I’ve tried to portray and it’s been a really great experience working with them.”
Having a handful of students getting to showcase their own choreography is sure to lead to a diverse concert.
“There’re a couple large groups, one solo, two duets, I believe, and my trio,” said Black. “So there’s a lot of diversity in the amount of dancers that will be on stage and also in who the dancers are – who’s been cast. I think all of them are really different.”
Black says that she has had some experience with choreography before, but that this project is much more intensive.
She said the music for her dance, “Adrift,” features a German poem about a man growing up by a river and being reminiscent of the past. Black brings the two mediums of dance and music together through this theme.
“I tried to combine the elements of time and of the ocean, of water, how it’s cyclical and it’s always flowing,” Black said. “I feel like the piece as a whole really does flow like a wave. There’s constant motion and a lot of breaths and circular motions and patterns. So, I’m happy with the way it turned out.”
VCU’s “Path Finders” will be showcased this Friday and Saturday, January 27 and 28 at the Grace Street Theater. Tickets are $15, or $10 for any student with a valid I.D. and can be purchased here.