The Slippery Rock Dance Department will be hosting their annual winter concert, “Scanning the Horizon,” on Saturday, Feb. 6 at 2 and 6:30 pm at the Succop Theatre at Butler County Community College.
The purpose for having a winter concert is to showcase student’s choreography and performance. artistic director of the Dance Department, Ursula Payne said she feels that Butler’s dance theater is one of the most important venues in our program that features our students.
Each year, junior and senior dance majors and minors hold auditions in the beginning of September for dances they plan on choreographing. These pieces get judged in November by SRU dance professors at the Adjudication concert. After this concert, the pieces are either put into the Fall or Winter concert.
Senior dance major, Gabrielle Henry said she loves when her dances get judged by people who truly know her.
“The opportunity to get your work judged and chosen to be performed in a concert by people who know so much about the dance industry is truly amazing.”
One of the main features of the program is the way the professors help students improve upon their technical performance skills, Payne said.
The dancers are challenged to develop original work throughout their creative process. Choreographers are challenged to think about what their movement behind their work means, where their inspiration came from and how they will convey that to audience members.
The different aspects that go into creating an original piece are research and analysis development.
“What audience members are seeing on stage has gone through an entire process involving experimentation, problem-solving and critical thinking,” Payne said.
Senior dance major and business administration major, Kristen Bailey said being a part of the winter concert is beyond rewarding because all of the dance department’s hard work gets to be shown on stage. She said it’s great to see the artistry of her classmates.
The winter concert is the ending to dance theater for the year. It is the last place where student choreographers show their judged work to audience members. The dancers and choreographers have rehearsed since September to improve their work for this showcase.
Junior dance and recreational therapy major, Malena Maust said performing and choreographing for the winter concert has been an exceptional opportunity and rewarding challenge.
The opening piece for the show is choreographed by dance professor, Jennifer Keller, and it is danced by her repertory students. The inspiration behind this piece was the tragedy that was happening with Syrian refugees at the time.
“Last September, refugees were camping out of a train station that was down; after awhile refugees got up and started walking to the Austrian border with determination and courage to start a new life,” Keller said.
Keller said she wanted people to take away an emotional experience and to feel connected with the performers, and to see humanity on the stage.
The concert will be offering an array of styles of dance. There are nine different choreographers with group pieces and solos in the show.
The title ‘Scanning the Horizon’ comes from Kellers’ idea of students looking to the future in their final years of choreographing and dancing as a student at Slippery Rock.
“When you scan the horizon, it gives you that feel of openness and possibility,” Keller said.
The concert will be about an hour and forty-five minutes long. There are 14 pieces, with seven in each half.
Tickets are $10 for students, children and seniors, and $15 for the general public.