Dance excellence on display again this week

The Student Spotlight Spring Dance Concert showcases the work of students, both on and off the stage. Students organize and execute the performance.

By Mark Heller
GCU News Bureau

Visions of a cuckoo clock probably don’t mean much to most millennials, but the comparison between those relics and Lauren Iuliano’s dance choreography put her in distinctive company.

The Grand Canyon University sophomore’s piece, “fzzl” was one of three undergraduate students, out of more than 40 entries, selected for the Gala at the American College Dance Association in Modesto, Calif., last week.

Spring Student Spotlight Dance Concert

When:  7:30 p.m. Wednesday-Thursday, March 15-16

Where:  Thunderground

Tickets:  Free (first come, first served)

It was the fourth year that College of Fine Arts and Production (COFAP) undergraduate student choreographers have earned the honor of having work selected at the Gala.

“They thought it was very witty and reminded them of British dry witty humor comedies,” Bekki Price, a COFAP faculty member, said of the Gala judges. “Movements were mechanical like something inside of a cuckoo clock. They were really interested to see her choreographic process.”

Iuliano’s “fzzl” piece won’t be part of this week’s Spring Student Spotlight Dance Concert inside Thunderground, but she collaborated with several fellow students for a piece titled, “Chugga Chugga,” that will be one of 12 performed as part of the student showcase put together each semester.

Price is coordinating the spring dance concert showcase, which is otherwise organized and executed entirely by COFAP students. Four freshman earned spots in the program, an impressive accomplishment considering they have yet to enroll in a choreography composition class at GCU.

Price said the dozen performances feature a wide array of comedic and poignant themes using modern dance, tap, hip-hop and more.

Students auditioned Feb. 23 in front of a panel of GCU faculty and local artists, but as has occurred for these showcases the last two years, all auditions went through an initial “Work in Progress Showing” in the weeks before late February. Students presented their works to a group of volunteer faculty members to acquire direct, immediate feedback so adjustments could be made before the February auditions.

“Even if you’re not doing your own, you’re still immersed and sometimes you need a step back and see what others see,” Price said. “You know your intent, but you don’t know how it’s perceived by the audience. Our students have done excellent work at taking and applying that feedback to develop their craft.”

One of the highlights of the program is “Old School” by freshman Abbi Cavanaugh. It’s a humorous piece featuring six dancers who represent couples during retirement.

Another highlight is “Pieces” by senior Ted Williams Jr., who has been involved in these student showcases since his freshman year. This piece is essentially a compilation of each of his previous Student Spotlight performances — at least one per semester for the last four years.

“He wanted it to be a collage of his experience and growth at GCU,” Price said.


“Thoughts” (Cristian David Barajas)

“Predation” (Tamrae Wright)

“Flows” (Anna Sanamyan)

“Chugga Chugga” (Stacee Martinez, Lauren Iuliano, Turiya Chavez, Kylee Ernst, Angela Brown, Armani Randolph, Becky Vice, Lydia Durnil)

“Next Gen” (Cesar Aten and K’Lynn Flores)

“Pieces” (Ted Williams Jr.)

“Stencil” (K’Lynn Flores)

“Please” (Estevaun Lauro)

“Wish You Were Here” (TJ Chavez)

“Old School” (Abbi Cavanaugh)

“E U P H O R I A” (Angelica Lara)

“I Will Gladly Pay You Tuesday for a Hamburger Today” (K’Lynn Flores)

Contact Mark Heller at (602) 639-7516 or [email protected]


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