Spring Dance Concert gives voice to value of silence
Story and photos by Laurie Merrill
GCU News Bureau
Their bodies twist and turn in impossible poses, necks long, legs strong, arms aloft, moving with fluidity and decision. A Mumford & Sons song plays in the background.
Members of Grand Canyon University’s Ethington Dance Ensemble were rehearsing “Love Speaks in Volumes,” Chapters 1 and 2, choreographed by faculty member Sean Dahlberg. Those are two dances that will be performed in the Spring Dance Concert, “Giving Voice,” at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Ethington Theatre. For tickets and more information, click here or call 602-639-8880.
“This piece is about love. Love in all its ugly, different and beautiful forms. Love is love,” says a note on the program for the final dance production of the 2015-16 school year.
During the rehearsal in the Saguaro Hall dance studio, the wistful music picks up speed and energy. The dancers twirl and jump faster, their feet landing with louder thuds on the wooden floor in what appears to be a triumphant moment.
Susannah Keita, College of Fine Arts and Production dance director and the show’s artistic director, said the piece is meant to be interpretive and could trigger many feelings.
“We want to validate all interpretations,” Keita said. “Movement is so rich in its potential to say more than words can.”
In all, there will be 10 dances and 34 students in the concert.
“This is a repertoire concert, so you won’t see just one thing,” Keita said. Spectators will be treated to ballet, jazz, modern and classical dance forms.
“It will be dynamic, thought-provoking, it will have a range of movement, styles and emotion,” said Kevin Godfrey-Chevalier, artist in residence and adjunct professor. “It will be entertaining and touching and emotional and moving.”
Dahlberg, a COFAP faculty member, praised the panting dancers during a break.
“I believe in you,” he said enthusiastically. “I know you can do it.”
Sophomore Miriam Baker said “Giving Voice” is a sensational show and added that she is thrilled with GCU’s dance program.
“I love it. We get a lot of opportunities to learn from really good dancers, not only from across the Valley but also from across the U.S.,” she said.
Junior Monique Streety won a scholarship to The Ailey School in New York City, associated with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. She said she developed self-confidence from the small classes and performance opportunities at GCU.
“During the last three years I have been constantly challenged, both mentally and physically,” Streety said. “They are encouraging and loving yet technically strong.”
In the program, Keita talks about the value of silence as a spiritual exercise. The concert, she said, will present dances inspired by this theme:
“When one is righteous, making lots of noise is not necessary. Dance is the perfect modality for our choreographers to express the truth as each of us understands it.”
Contact Laurie Merrill at 602-639-6511 or firstname.lastname@example.org.