Fall Spotlight highlights student choreography
By Ashlee Larrison
GCU News Bureau
Friendship, individuality, acceptance and art for the sake of creating art are a few of the inspirations for Grand Canyon University’s Dance Department’s Fall Student Spotlight Concert.
A collection of pieces choreographed and performed by dance majors and minors Oct. 15-16 offer an opportunity for student choreographers to share their art with their peers.
Bekki Price, Program Development Specialist for the College of Fine Arts and Production, says that the show is eclectic and audiences will see several different types of dance, modern contemporary modern, Latin jazz and Broadway jazz.
“This is a show that I always get excited about because it is choreographed and preformed all by students,” Price said. “They kind of get to show their creative vision and esthetic and bring that to the stage … This is an opportunity for the students to choreograph and show their work.”
Senior Anna Sanamyan, who collaborated with fellow student Julia Geringer to choreograph the dance titled “01011000,” will also be taking the reigns as student stage manager for the concert, with the help of her assistant stage managers and Price.
“I was nervous at first because I had never done it before,” Sanamyan said of her experience as stage manager. “It’s not just me, it’s a whole team. The department is also involved because it’s their show, too, so the dancers will help me set up, they’ll help me tear down, they help with handing out flyers, so it’s actually been a pretty smooth process for me.”
Sanamyan and Geringer love of create choreography from music and on this piece used the song “Rasor” by ATTLAS. Sanamyan describes the piece as energetic and intricate, influenced by media’s sway on the recent generation.
“I’m really excited to see people’s responses,” Sanamyan said. “I’m excited to see it all come together on stage, specially for me because when I look at the piece, it doesn’t look like it’s two different people that had input into it, it looks very fluid, like one person did it. I think the audience will get a kick out of it because it’s not typical, it’s not usual and I’m just excited to see it on stage.”
Senior Jessica Symmes, otherwise known as the dancing nurse because she majors in nursing, will be choreographing two pieces for her final senior spotlight. Symmes’ piece “Do You Jazz?” will show her ability to choreograph for a group, based on “The Hot Honey Rag” from the musical “Chicago.” Her other piece, Symmes will perform as a solo, is titled “Unapologetically Me” and will showcase a remade version on Maya Angelou’s poem “Phenomenal Woman.”
“With this year’s spotlight concert there’s a lot of different styles being represented, which is super exciting,” Symmes said. “Specifically with my pieces, I really love to preform jazz on stage because there’s something fun about having an intimate environment such as spotlight where you can basically see your friends and family and perform for them, and it’s like you’re having a conversation through your performance, and I think that’s something really special that is unique to spotlight.”
The student spotlight is something that Symmes said has helped her learn how better herself as a choreographer and get real time feedback on her artwork.
“It definitely gives students a vehicle to experiment with what they’re interested in and grow their choreography skills with the help of the faculty,” Symmes said.
Student Spotlight concerts have a history of filling seats, whether it be from the student body, families or other COFAP programs.
“We have a very supportive student body,” Price said.
The pieces from the Fall Student Spotlight Concert and the previous Spring Student Spotlight Concert will be contenders to be selected as one of two pieces to represent GCU at the American College Dance Association Festival in the Spring.
IF YOU GO
What: Fall Student Spotlight Dance Concert
When: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, October 15 and Wednesday, October 16
Admission: Free (get there early, seating is limited)
Contact Ashlee Larrison at (602) 639-8488 or firstname.lastname@example.org.