The University of Nevada, Reno’s Department of Theatre and Dance hosted their annual Spring Dance Concert from Thursday, May 2, until Saturday, May 4. Students and choreographers in the program showcased their versatility as the nine performances consisted of a mixture of jazz, contemporary, ballet and hip-hop.
Along with the dance faculty at the Department of Theatre and Dance, the Spring Dance Concert brought in Jennifer August and Maggie Stack as guest choreographers for the showcase. Both artists have a plethora of accolades in their impressive careers. After studying dance at Dean College, August was hand selected by Judith Jamison to study at the Alvin Ailey Dance Center in New York City. Stack trained at the San Francisco Conservatory of Dance and has also performed around the globe with many renowned companies.
The show kicked off with a piece titled “Falling Up”, choreographed by Assistant Professor Rosie Trump. Dressed in different striped pants and color-block shirts, seven girls started off by walking in circles to electronic music. The modern dance involved a lot of pushing, falling, synchronization and elements of intricate partner work. “Falling Up” set the tone for all the creativity with its out-of-the-box presence.
Victoria Dugan, Deena Schmidt, Kimberly Yukes and Sarah Ziolkowski took a more traditional turn with “Flower, Magnified.” Laced up in pointe shoes and gracefully turning in simple white dresses, the dance added a visual element including a slideshow of Georgia O’Keeffe paintings in the background. The dancers made the performance look effortless as they were moving across the floor with ease.
Any time you start a performance with “Bust A Move” by Young MC, it is bound to get the crowd pumped up. “You want it/I got it” began, and a cheerful hip-hop and jazz piece later turned into a more modern type of movement as the music changed. Sporting colorful windbreakers and a classic pair of jeans, the performers looked like they were having a ton of fun. It proved to be one of the favorites as the attendees cheered throughout.
Inspired by the imagery from the 2 of Swords tarot card, “La Destreza” turned into one of the most imaginative pieces of the night. Choreographed by Nate Hodges, the three dancers had blindfolds on and were each holding two swords throughout the entire number. The powerful poses and clashing of the weapons worked wonderfully with the beauty of the leaps and jumps executed. The fierce presence of the performers felt like it came directly from an action movie.
Similar to “La Destreza,” “The Treasure Seekers” also embodied in a sense of adventure. Dressing the part, the performers were sporting white collared shirts and army green pants along with belts and satchels as the performance surrounded a treasure chest. Filled with leaps, turns and a hint of acrobatics, the piece also incorporated a fun fight scene.
The final dance of the night was definitely one to remember. “The Mulberry County Ladies’ Society Cordially Invites You to Dinner” was a theatrical routine that involved elements of a dark comedy while looking at 1950s culture and intermixing it with a little bit of horror. The seemingly innocent dance suddenly turned into a violent one as there were fake weapons and fake body-parts involved amongst the classic sitcom music. The comedic timing and expressive acting of all the dancers were infectious and left the crowd with something to laugh about.
The Spring Dance Concert turned out to be a great representation of our school’s talented group of students, faculty and choreographers. The lighting, costumes and the slightest movements were all executed with great attention of detail. It will be exciting to see what these brilliant artists will create this upcoming semester.