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Students self-choreograph for Dance Collection

Drew Pendleton

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Dance Collection, a one-night, one-performance event, showcases a range of dances and choreographers. The UATD show lets student choreographers bring their work into the limelight alongside the work of the department’s faculty.

“Dance Collection is another chance for our students to choreograph work for our concert,” Ameen Price-Burnett, a senior majoring in theatre and dance, said. “This semester’s Dance Collection is mostly a showcase for the graduating senior class to show off their final works.”

While this year’s slate is mostly student work, Sarah Barry, an associate professor of dance, said it will also include two works by faculty member Qianping Guo. She said ideas for Dance Collection transpire at various times, and many of their students perform in multiple dances and performances at the same time.

“Our students are highly creative and are constantly working on new ideas and dances,” Barry said. “Whenever we select dances for a concert, the faculty always keep variety and quality in mind. Our shows represent many different aesthetics and styles to honor the many voices and individuals within the program.”

Erika Davis, a senior majoring in dance and environmental engineering, will present her piece “Suffix” at this year’s concert.

“[The piece] is about the different ways we have the same conversation with someone from our past,” Davis said. “Everyone deals with things differently, so to develop the ‘character’ for the piece we discussed our personal situations and how we dealt with them.”

Mallory Herring, a senior majoring in dance and international studies, will perform in four pieces, one of them a self-choreographed solo piece.

“[Self-choreographing is] hard,” Herring said. “It’s hard to find movement that I’m comfortable with, that I think looks good and that others think looks good. I have to take myself out of it, in a way.”

Like Herring, Price-Burnett is also participating in multiple pieces: “What Scares You Most…” and “Repressed Liberation,” which he choreographed with fellow senior Shaun Leary this past summer.

“[“What Scares You Most…] is a new work that I choreographed, which is based on the fears that individuals have when it comes to falling in love or being in a relationship,” Price-Burnett said. “I developed it by using improvisational work with my dancers and allowing them to tell their own stories in the piece. [“Repressed Liberation”] is based on being a part of a society that does not allow you to have your own voice and the different emotions that come with being able to use it for the first time.”

Davis said the process of developing this year’s Dance Collection performance has provided the opportunity to work with the talent the department offers.

“The best part about Dance Collection is getting to share the rehearsal and performance space with so many talented and innovative artists,” Davis said. “Everyone has their own approach to choreography and performance and it’s amazing to see how all these different identities come together to produce this finished product.”

Herring agreed with Davis, emphasizing the production’s sense of community.

“It’s really a student-run show,” Herring said. “It’s been a fun process, and rehearsals have been a cool time with friends and dancing together one last time. It’s been sweet to spend time with everyone.”

Price-Burnett said his favorite part of Dance Collection is seeing the payoff of the turnaround, regardless of the short time frame.

“The best part is being able to see what my peers can come up with in such a short period of time, especially those that just finished with their pieces that were presented in Dance Alabama a few weeks ago,” Price-Burnett said. “I just love being able to see new and refreshing work.”

With the concert fast approaching, Barry said she hopes for a good turnout for what will be the seniors’ final performance.

“We hope there is a nice turnout for this one-night only concert to show support for our students and honor their hard work and dedication,” she said.

UA Dance Collection will perform its one-night only concert Friday at 7 p.m. in Morgan Auditorium. General admission is $10, and tickets are currently available online at theatre.ua.edu.

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Students self-choreograph for Dance Collection