Senior dance students choreograph performance inspired by life experiences


Dance Majors are putting four brains together to produce their first fall 2 Bachelor of Fine Arts concert, a capstone project that is required from senior dance majors. The concert is titled “Betwixt,” another word for balance. Abby Ellison, Shannon Bucklin, Mershauna Clay and Marcus Johnson have choreographed a variety of duets, group dance and solos to showcase their own creative vision of dance.

Beckah Reed, artistic director of dance said it is required that all senior dance majors do the BFA Capstone project. They must hold auditions, choreograph, direct, design flyers and write a proposal for the production. Through fundraisers the dancers are given $50 each to go towards costumes and promotions.

“It seems like a lot but it spends up fast, Ellison said. We buy props and costumes so a lot of the money comes out of our pockets.”

Shannon Bucklin, senior, dance major with an emphasis in modern ballet

Shannon Bucklin has choreographed a theatrical comedic group piece in which she named “Hodge Podge For The Common Man.”

“This piece isn’t technical demanding,” Bucklin said. “It’s more like a comedy with movement.

Because the other performances were serious Bucklin said she wanted to lighting up the show and do something different. Her trio performances is called “Zalophus”, the Latin name for sea lions. Bucklin said she went to the zoo and studied the sea lions movement in order to recreate it into her performance.

Marcus Johnson, dance major with emphasis in ballet

Marcus Johnson is preparing a duet and group combine titled “Transponsing Elements,” an exploration of the Chinese idea of Yin and Ying. Johnson said the Chinese belief is a balance between light and dark. He said been intrigued by the belief his entire life. Johnson choreographed very athletic and grounded movement for the piece. For his solo performance, “Within and Without,” Johnson explored different types of movement without standing on two feet.

“I love floor work,” Jonson said. It was just another interaction I had in mind.”

Abby Ellison dance major

Abby Ellison lost her father to cancer ten years ago. This Thursday through Saturday she will perform the dance she choreographed with him in mind.

Ellison, dance major, said her father inspired her duet performance, “Beyond Until Death Do Us Part” in her BFA dance.. Ellison said she wanted to base her performance out of her mom’s eyes of losing a spouse and the struggle of having to move on and still take care of family.

“Instead of capturing my journey, I wanted to focus on my mother’s journey,” Ellison said.

Ellison also choreographed a group piece titled “In the Wake of…” where she pulled inspiration from the feeling of sleeping and dreaming that you’re falling. She calls it a nightmare based off a dream.

Mershauna Clay

Like Ellison, Mershauna Clay, dance major, is also incorporating her life experiences into her performances. Clay named her trio AGGiE, after her nephew who’s been diagnosed with epilepsy disorder. But Clay said her piece isn’t about epilepsy. She captures his playful personality and a lot of his mannerisms. Clay recorded her nephew so that she could give the audience a sense of his physical challenges.

Clay’s solo and group piece are combined creating ritualistic movement throughout the performance. “Dea” which stands for goddess, showcases the strength of women working together. Clay was inspired after researching the Greek Myth of Amazonian warriors, a group of warrior women who belong to an all female culture and society told to be as strong as men. On stage the group is portrayed as a tribe wearing long skirts positioned in a warrior formation.

“The government has tried to stop insurance from covering birth control and abortion clinics,” Clay said.

Through Clay’s dance piece, she hopes to show that women aren’t weak and that they can solve their own problems.










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