Mackenzie Newbern, a freshman dance major from Lake Isabella, California, Ashly Barraclough, a junior dance major from St. George, and Evie Barfuss, a freshman associates of science major from St. George, perform a dance choreographed by McKelynn Barber, a senior dance major from West Valley City. “This is a huge accomplishment for us,” Barber said. Photo courtesy of UMAC photographer Alex Santiago.
By Elise Bush
Through all of the trials 2020 has presented, the Dixie State University dance department has decided that the show must go on… virtually.
Elizabeth Stich, assistant professor of dance, said there is a wide range of styles from contemporary to modern, jazz to the spoken word. There is even a performance that incorporates aerial dance, tap and contemporary. These choreographers have developed dances as their capstone projects, adding to the ever-growing portfolio of an artist.
The virtual concert will premiere Dec. 4 at 7 p.m. and will be available the entire week of finals. More information can be found on the dance department’s Facebook page and website. There will be updates on where and how to watch the concert.
Working within the limitations of COVID-19 has challenged both the dancers and the choreographers, Stich said.
“We’ve gotten so used to it, like moving with masks, they don’t look strange to me as a part of the costume anymore,” Stich said. “And the way that they had to choreograph without the ability to touch our partner — we couldn’t do any partnering and those kinds of things. I think that the choreographers have done such a great job with it that I don’t really see it as limitations anymore.”
This has become the mindset of the entire department. Mackenzie Newbern, a freshman dance major from Lake Isabella, California, said working within these new guidelines has bettered her as a dancer.
“It personally helped me to push more of my performing skills,” Newbern said.
Ashly Barraclough, a junior dance major from St. George, said: “It really taught us … more about what dance is at its core, which is movement of the body and not just a performing thing. Like, yes, it’s great to be able to just perform for an audience and we always get that rush, you know, during a live performance, but [we’ve] been able to look at it as its purest form, which is just movement in whatever sense of feeling.”
This is a strong reminder to dancers that they don’t have to have an audience to validate their artistic depth and ability.
Choreographer McKelynn Barber, a senior dance major from West Valley City, said: “We all need more dance. We all need to watch more dance … we weren’t able to dance for months, for almost six months. It’s kind of inspiring to see people dance again and be able to be on stage and put anything together right now. This is a huge accomplishment for us.”
Stich said all dance auditions are open to all majors. There will be virtual auditions held for the spring concert on Jan. 11. There will be updates regarding auditions posted to the dance Facebook page.
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