Spring Faculty Dance Concert goes ‘Beyond Limits’

March 26, 2021 / by / 0 Comment
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Story by Ashlee Larrison
Photos by Garrett Ohrenberg
GCU News Bureau

How much more will the Dance Department and its performances continue to evolve and thrive?

The limit does not exist.

The theme for this year’s Spring Faculty Dance Concert is “Beyond Limits.”

It’s time for the College of Fine Arts and Production’s Spring Faculty Dance Concert, scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Friday through Sunday, and it’s all about pushing the limits and showcasing the continuous talent emerging from the department. The “Beyond Limits” theme, Director of Dance Bekki Price believes, is the perfect way to end the semester considering all the obstacles created by the pandemic.

“I think it’s very appropriate to this year,” Price said. “We’ve felt very limited by all of the things we can’t do that we used to be able to do, from being close to one another to connecting and seeing loved ones. Over the past year, with all of the challenges that this pandemic has thrown at our students and everyone in this world, this show is really about finding ways to transcend the limits and finding ways to move forward and grow despite all of these limitations that we’ve had.”

The concert will feature five films, shown via livestream, and seven pieces performed live on the stage outside the Fine Arts Building. The films will contain works choreographed by both students and faculty, while live performances will showcase faculty choreography and a special piece choreographed by Elisa Schroth, Artistic Director at Ekklesia Contemporary Ballet in Middletown, Connecticut.

Hannah Victoria Thomas’ piece will honor nurses and front-line workers.

One of the faculty members whose work will be featured is Hannah Victoria Thomas, and her “…they cried out” piece is scheduled to end the show. Thomas means it as a tribute to health care providers who have stepped up to protect and care for people during the pandemic.

“Basically, I wanted to take the emotion from ‘Deliver Us’ by Prince of Egypt and the concept of honoring the emotions of what a lot of nurses and the front-line workers of the pandemic felt,” Thomas said. “I wanted to honor the hard work and the sacrifices of the nurses and the front-line workers and also put it to a very intense cinematic soundtrack.”

Getting to be part of Thomas’ powerful piece is something that senior James Lantz will remember when looking back at his final concert as a Grand Canyon University undergraduate student.

“The choreography is very intense and high energy, and I love doing that type of movement,” he said. “It’s been really fun to be a part of.”

The performance will take place on the stage on the College of Fine Arts and Production Building’s lawn, but attendance is limited to GCU students, faculty and staff.

Lantz will perform four pieces in the show, showcasing what he said is a culmination of the genres of dance he has learned during his time at GCU.

“I think that this was a fantastic show to end off with,” Lantz said. “I’m so excited to look back in the future and look at the videos of this and just remember what a great time it has been.”

It is a final concert that will look different from what seniors had in mind but will be twice as memorable. For senior Sarah Beebe, whose film will be showcased, the modifications that had to be made to protect students and faculty from COVID-19 don’t even come close to taking away the happiness she feels about having one last show with her friends.

Seven pieces of choreography will be performed live at the performance.

“Being in the Dance Department for four years has shaped me in incredible ways as a person,” she said. “This last year has definitely pushed me to find joy in circumstances where I would normally just want to complain. I think what I’m going to take way most is that adaptability is very important, but maybe the most important element is just being able to find joy in the moment.

“Maybe it looks different, but I still get to have all my best friends up on stage with me. We still get to have that one last final show and stand on stage and bow together one last time … and that’s what’s most important.”

It’s a performance students won’t want to miss, stage manager Allison Ross said:

“The students have been working so hard, and they have realized that we are so blessed to be able to perform right now. Seeing the show, I think will really just show people not only how hard they have been working but also what can be done during this pandemic and that it is possible to still see and experience art.”

FILMS

To be screened at 7 p.m. Friday on the Grand Canyon University YouTube channel. Following the film screening, the entire concert will be livestreamed.

interoception
Choreographer: Molly W. Schenck
Sound Design: Molly W. Schenck
Filmmaker: Garrett Bennion
Dancers: Hannah Ahr, Sarah Beebe, Hailey Boggs, Hannah Bridgeo, Madeline Brinker, Patrick Devine, Jessica Espinoza, Savannah Hale, Kyla Johnston, Samantha Lopresti, Mikaela Lures, Cassandra McGehee, Jillian Nelson, Treva Stotts, Emily Valenzuela

F E E T
Choreographer and performer: Sarah Beebe
Music: “Eternal Youth” by Rude

boxed in…branching out
Choreographer: Alysa Sandoval
Music: “slowmotion” and “tomorrow” by Bensound
Dancers: Olivia Boatright and Caitlin Deely 

July 25, 1944
Choreographer and performer: Kendall Smith
Director: Matthew R. Fajardo
Assistant camera: Kaitlyn Visser
Music: “The French Library” by Frank Gordon

Receiving New Life
Choreographer and film editor: Treva Stotts
Director of photography: Jack Feilteau
Music: “Swinging” by the Album Leaf, “Two on the Breakwater” by Angus MacRae
Dancers: Elijah Figueroa, Janessa Hill, James Lantz, Cassandra McGehee, Megan Neese

LIVE PERFORMANCES

adapt. react. readapt. apt. (Part 2)
Choreographer: Rebecca Blair Price in collaboration with the dancers
Music: Original composition by Robin Vining
Dancers: Sarah Beebe, Caitlin Deely, Elijah Figueroa, Savannah Hale, James Lantz, Johanna Loiseau, Jonathan Montoya Gerado (understudy), Joy Palmer, Eleanor Sheldon, Kylie Silves, Neil Spooner (understudy), Emma Watson

interoception
Choreographer: Molly W. Schenck
Sound design: Molly W. Schenck
Dancers: Hannah Ahr, Sarah Beebe, Hailey Boggs, Hannah Bridgeo, Madeline Brinker, Patrick Devine, Jessica Espinoza, Savannah Hale, Kyla Johnston, Samantha Lopresti, Mikaela Lures, Cassandra McGehee, Jillian Nelson, Treva Stotts, Emily Valenzuela

against the wind
Choreographer: Halley Wilcox
Music: Michael Wall
Dancers Friday/Sunday: Joanna Aguirre, Elijah Figueroa, Janessa Hill, James Lantz, Eleanor Sheldon
Dancers Thursday/Saturday: Trinity GraciaJonathan MontoyaMegan Neese, Cortnee PorrasRayshawn Watkins

Dark Night of the Soul
Choreographer: Elisa Schroth
Music: “Dark Night of the Soul” by Master Chorale of Tampa Bay
Dancers: Emily Bartlett, Kenzie Brandon, Johanna Loiseau, Cassandra McGehee, Mikaela Lures (understudy), Jonathan Montoya Gerado, Joy Palmer, Kylie Silves, Kendall Smith, Neil Spooner (understudy)

See Them Run
Choreographer: Kevin Godfrey-Chevalier
Music: “Renata” by James Holden, “Run, Sally, Run!” by Carpenter Brut
Dancers: Hailey Boggs, Jessica Espinoza (understudy), Elijah Figueroa, Savannah Hale, Janessa Hill, James Lantz, Destiny Magee, Cassandra McGehee, Megan Neese, Cortnee Porras, Eleanor Sheldon, Rayshawn Watkins

Crescendo
Choreographer: Jessica Blonde
Music: Concerto for Violin, String and Harpsichord in G, R. 303: II. Largo and Concerto for Violin, Strings and Harpsichord in G Minor, R. 331: III. Allegro by Antonio Vivaldi
Dancers: Hannah Ahr, Sarah Beebe, Amber Bennett, Caitlin Deely, Kyla Johnston (understudy), Cassandra McGehee, Eleanor Sheldon, Kylie Silves (understudy), Kendall Smith, Emma Watson

…they cried out 
Choreographer: Hannah Victoria 
Music: “Nurse Soundbite” by NowThis News, “Deliver Us” by Prince of Egypt Soundtrack, “Deliver Us” (cover) by Samuel Kim Music 
Dancers: Joanna Aguirre, Halley Boggs, Eli Figueroa, Janessa Hill, Victoria Knighten, James Lantz, Johanna Loiseau, Destiny Magee, Megan Neese, Jillian Nelson, Joy Palmer, Cortney Porras, Rayshawn Watkins

Contact Ashlee Larrison at (602) 639-8488 or [email protected].

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GCU Today: Dance alumna returns to campus for residency


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