On Tuesday, Oct. 17, the Samford Dance Company put their talents on display in front of a full house in Harrison Theater. The Student Choreography Showcase, a recently started annual tradition, allows students to show off the self-choreographed pieces they have been working on throughout the semester.
The event was entirely student-run and open to students of all classifications. It boasted a medley of 19 solo and group performances, with styles ranging from ballet to musical theater.
Alisa McCool, director of the Samford Dance Company, supervised the showcase.
“As a dancer, you can either be a performer or choreographer or both, and so when you choreograph your own dance, it’s a different level,” McCool said. “I started this program a couple years ago […] to give students an outlet to produce their own work rather than just performing somebody else’s.”
Due to the renovations taking place in the Siebert gymnasium, where the Samford Dance Company normally rehearses, the dancers have lost a significant amount of rehearsal space. They are now down to only one studio to practice and prepare in. Despite this limitation, they continued with the show.
“I was really proud of them for making it work,” McCool said. And all the dances look really, really great… I just love the little culture and community that we’ve built in the dance company.”
Once the show was over, McCool introduced the choreographers and opened the floor for the audience to participate in a Q & A. Choreographers were able to speak about the inspiration for their pieces, their creative process and their experiences within the Samford Dance Company.
Senior accounting major Faith Poenitske choreographed the showcase’s first dance, titled “Eclipse.”
“My dance was based off of a solo I choreographed for a class a couple years ago, and I wanted to make it into a group piece,” Poenitske said. “There are a lot of big movements and a lot of big phrases, but also a stillness… and that’s how I feel like life is moving right now. It’s moving fast, and there are so many things happening around us, but we can find the beauty in all that.”
Freshman health sciences major Carolyne Rowell performed and choreographed one of her two solos in the showcase, titled “Pace and a Posture of Heart.” Instead of putting her choreography to music, Rowell danced entirely to ambient noise recorded from outside a coffee shop.
“Honestly, I wanted to challenge myself because I love musicality and all different parts of the song,” Rowell said. “So, I was like, if I dance to street noise, I will have to challenge myself to focus on breath [and] to take a step back and realize that movement can just be movement and not based off of a song.”
Senior English major Ashley Taylor reflected on her process for choreographing her piece, titled “What You Can Do.”
“This year, I really wanted to do a modern dance… and focus on moving in new ways. I would go to the dance studio and really home in on how the music would carry the movement,” Taylor explained. “I had hip surgery in February… it is a really extensive process to get back into dancing after that… I just focused on the movement that I can still do right now, movement that doesn’t hurt the injury, that is still accessible to me.”
Taylor has choreographed for the showcase each year she has been a part of the program. She will be using her piece from this showcase to submit with graduate school applications.
“It’s sad to know that this is my last time choreographing as a college student,” she said. “[But] it was very rewarding to see where I’ve come from, from the very first showcase I danced in to now. I’ve seen my choreography grow, I’ve seen my dancing grow [and] I’ve seen my artistry grow.”