Story by Ashlee Larrison
Photos by Rylan Dressendorfer
GCU News Bureau
It’s that point in the semester again.
The opportunity has arrived for dance students in the College of Fine Arts and Production to showcase their own pieces of choreography on stage in front of an audience.
Dance students are taking to the Quad and presenting their pieces, either in person or through dance films. The first concert was Monday night, and the students will perform again at 7:30 Tuesday night.
“I think a lot of these pieces are the students’ way of navigating through this new world that we’re in,” said Dance Director Bekki Price.
Not only is the concert choreographed and performed by students; they also run it, which gives them experience in other skills such as stage managing. For this semester’s spotlight concert, Dance senior Ellie Sheldon, who has two pieces in the concert, is the stage manager. She previously worked as an assistant stage manager and co-stage manager on previous spotlight concerts, so taking on the head role for this concert wasn’t too far out of her comfort zone.
“There’s a lot of communication parts you have to go into,” Sheldon said. “It’s been a really awesome leadership role.”
The concert features 15 pieces covering a multitude of topics and emotions. One of those pieces, “Receiving New Life” by senior Treva Stotts, is on film and left to the interpretation of the audience.
“When I started the piece, I was focusing on what that process of what going through forgiveness is, and for me it was forgiving myself and receiving grace and forgiveness,” Stotts said. “I just kind of wanted to leave it up for interpretation.”
Her four-minute film was shot in a snowy location and encourages the viewer to feel a multitude of different emotions. It was a piece made possible, Stotts said, by the concert’s inclusion of dance films.
“Filming and dance films specifically was something that I never thought about,” she said.
After getting more familiar with the process of creating a dance film last semester, due to virtual classroom precautions, Stotts says she had the ability to build her confidence in her film making experience, ultimately leading to her decision to enter a film into the concert.
The outdoor concerts will take place on a stage set up on the Quad. Although the performances are not being livestreamed, students on campus have the option to reserve free tickets via the GCU Engage app.
“The Student Spotlight is always one of my favorite concerts at GCU because it really shows the diversity of our student choreographers,” Price said. “I think one of the exciting things is just having the opportunity to be outside and see art when so much of the world’s art has been shut down and there aren't a lot of live performances happening.
“At GCU, we’ve been very blessed to have the University support us in building these outdoor venues and allowing us to use these new spaces to kind of push us out of our comfort zone and to try something new.”
Stotts says the concert is an opportunity to keep up to date with what students on campus have going on.
“You get to see what your fellow students are doing and what they’re passionate about,” she said.
The list of performances for the Spring Student Spotlight Concert:
- “Enough” by Ellie Sheldon
- “Receiving New Life” by Treva Stotts (Film)
- “Snatched” by James Lantz
- “Boxed in” by Alysa Sandoval (Film)
- “An Ending, A Beginning” by Megan Neese & Rayshawn Watkins
- “amor caído” by Joanna Aguirre Solo 1:20
- “Awake” by Kendall Smith (Film)
- “Egyptian Royalty” by Victoria Knighten
- “Absence of Presence” by Trinity Gracia (Film)
- “Shake it to Lose it” by Rayshawn Watkins
- “F E E T” by Sarah Beebe (Film)
- “chapter 8” by Ellie Sheldon
- “La Peep” by Elijah Figueroa
- “Butterbug” by Kassidy Powell
- “Hot summer Nights” by Elijah Figueroa
Contact Ashlee Larrison at (602) 639-8488 or [email protected].