Dance Project to showcase original choreographed pieces

Emma Austin

Theater and dance students will show off five months of work this weekend at Dance Project, the annual student choreography showcase for the department of theatre and dance.

Each performance will display original choreography created specifically for the concert, according to Amanda Clark, associate professor in the department and Dance Project coordinator.

Some of these pieces have been choreographed by current students, but Clark said alumni are invited to present their original work as well.

“This experience provides [alumni] with a free venue and dancers to showcase their choreography,” Clark explained.

She said it also allows current students to meet and network with these former students as well as learn and perform diverse dance techniques.

Clark said Dance Project will involve approximately 30 student performers this year.

Anna Wilson, Lexington sophomore, is one of the students who will be showcasing her own original piece.

“I love to listen to movie soundtracks when I study, and one day I came across Dustin O’Halloran’s original score of the film ‘Breathe In,’” Wilson said. She added that after listening to the score, her mind was immediately flooded with ideas, images and movement.

“I knew I had to choreograph to his music,” she said. “In my mind’s eye, I saw a fast-forward version of a story of birds hatching from their shells, learning to fly and migrating south.”

Wilson’s contemporary modern piece called “Breathe” was a result of this inspiration and will be one of the dances performed this weekend.

“Dance Project is a wonderful opportunity and an incredible journey,” Wilson said.

She described the process of forming a concept and finding the best way to share a message with the audience, all of which is a part of the preparation for Dance Project.

Meghen McKinley, visiting instructor of dance, is serving as the faculty advisor for this year’s Dance Project.

In addition to navigating through scheduling, organizing and preparing for the performance, McKinley said she has also served as a mentor for a few of the emerging choreographers.

McKinley said these students’ pieces originally premiered in Last Chance to Dance, which is a show that occurs every fall semester. This performance also serves as an audition for the spring semester’s Dance Project.

Wilson said “Breathe” was selected last fall along with a few other pieces at Last Chance to Dance.

“This is all a wonderful experience for the students to learn how to deal with producing work in a lab space,” McKinley said. She added that students also learn how to work with costumes, lighting designers and a cast of dancers.

Wilson said she hopes to continue to choreograph and perform after she graduates from WKU and credits Dance Project with allowing her to learn through experience.

“Attending this showcase supports the rising choreographers and dancers of WKU,” Wilson said. “It will refresh your mind, relieve stress and motivate you creatively.”

Dance Project will be performed in the Gordon Wilson Lab Theatre on Feb. 12 and 13 at 8 p.m. and Feb. 14 at 3 p.m.