WKU Dance Company performs WinterDance

Dancers from the WKU Dance Company apply make-up before the WinterDance performance Sunday afternoon. The show ran Dec. 2-6 in the fine arts center and featured faculty and student choreography. JULIA WALKER THOMAS/HERALD

Elizabeth Beilman

Louisville senior Natalie Peak, who has been dancing for 19 years, celebrated her 22nd birthday this weekend by performing onstage.

Peak was among participants in this weekend’s WinterDance, performed by the WKU Dance Company from Dec. 2-6 in the fine arts center recital hall.

The first half of the performance consisted of various ballet, modern and jazz pieces.

Dances included “Whispering Insanity,” which featured one dancer frightened and seemingly possessed by a force invisible to the audience, and “Contaminated,” a piece about frantic germaphobes desperately trying to clean the stage and performers.

The second half was comprised of excerpts from “The Nutcracker” with choreography by Clifton Brown, associate dance professor and artistic director of the WinterDance.

Brown said a total of 20 students were in the performance, including five high school students selected from local dance schools.

Dancers for the Company are chosen from auditions at the beginning of each fall semester, Brown said.

Most of the choreography is composed by the faculty members, Brown said.

Peak, one of three seniors in the Company, said that although there are no official positions, the seniors have taken on leadership roles.

“The three of us have stepped up to lead the Company,” Peak said.

The Sunday performance was Peak’s birthday, and her family attended the performance that day.

“It’s fun because I get to do what I love to do on my birthday,” she said. “(My family was) able to see what I love to do, and I get to do what I love to do, and it makes for a happy day.”

Peak said she’s thankful to be a part of the Company.

“We all came from the same place and are working toward the same goal,” she said.

After college, Peak plans to start auditioning for dances and will go wherever her career takes her.

“I just want to perform and dance on stage for as long as possible,” Peak said.

Lexington freshman Adrienne Nixon was one of the members of the audience.

“I came because I have friends in the show, and I’m a former dancer,” she said.

Nixon, a costume design major, also worked on the costumes as a stitcher for “Mirlitons” and “Waltz of the Snow,” both excerpts from “The Nutcracker.”

The core pieces of the costumes, such as tutus and leotards, are pre-ordered, and stitchers add embellishments such as trim and ribbons, Nixon said.

“We do most of everything else by hand and machine in the shop,” she said.