UI dance graduating seniors perform thesis fall concert

By Mariah Schaefer

Family, friends and dance enthusiasts were there for one reason: to watch the December-graduating seniors in the University’s department of dance perform their final theses.

The five seniors, Skylar Males, Ricky Perry, Justin Yeung, Charles Gowin and Francesca Burns, presented the show “Stripped” on Friday and Saturday.

A little after the scheduled 7:30 p.m. time, a smiling woman announced the start of the concert.

The lights were cut out, and the friendly chatter ceased with the darkness. A tension in the audience arose as they waited for the first performance, “Androgynistic,” which was choreographed by Skylar Males.

As the lights faded back in, five dancers were already on stage. Wearing neutral colored clothes and no shoes, the dancers moved in what seemed to be an obviously organized, yet seemingly haphazard way. They rolled on the floor, ran around the whole stage and hugged each other without facial expression.

The audience was quiet.

An electronic beat blasted in the background, but it faded in and out throughout the performance. At one point, the dancers huddled together and synchronized their movements.

As they moved apart, they simulated a loss of control over movement, with their whole bodies shaking while the other dancers tried to stop those who were shivering.

As the performance ended and lights were cut out again, the audience burst into polite applause.

They waited for the next performance, “Be” by Ricky Perry. When the lights faded in again, Perry was sitting on the corner of the stage with his arms around his knees, gently swaying back and forth.

He looked around the stage as if he was being watched or followed by something invisible. When he finally stood up, he started talking to the audience. Perry said he felt trapped in a box, the box clearly representing artistic expression.

He then proceeded to dance, occupying the whole area of the stage. His movements were precise and signified the struggle of trying to free himself from that box.

After dancing and struggling for a long time, Perry talked to the audience again. He said he liberated himself from the box, but created his own limitations. He had a serious expression during the entire peformance.

Once Perry’s dance was over, the audience cheered, clapped and tapped their feet on the floor in excitement.

The lights once again faded out and in, and Justin Yeung titled the next performance “Monochromaticity.”

As the title implied, the three dancers were wearing monochromatic gray sweatshirts. The performance started with no music; it was just the three dancers moving on stage. Slowly, a song was introduced as the dancers did jumps and sat on the floor.

The fourth performance, choreographed by Paul Singh and performed by Charles Gowin, was titled “Eternal Prince.” 

The performance did not have music and had a voiceover instead. A soothing male voice told the dancer what to do. It was like the voiceover was in control of the dancer, who was trying to break free.

In the end, the voiceover sounded like a scratched record, with the man repeating words and losing control of the dancer.

As the lights faded in for the last time, four women dancers filled the stage for “It’s a Struggle Being a Queen,” choreographed by Francesca Burns.

This performance was the only one that had props and where the dancers wore shoes. They gracefully traveled around the stage and sat in chairs huddled in the corner.

The dancers clapped, danced together in a group and danced individually.

As the piece ended, they walked out together into the audience as Rihanna’s single, “Bitch Better Have My Money,” faded into the background.

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