Eight minutes. Four years of preparation all comes down to eight minutes on stage. Eleven seniors from the Bachelor of Dance program will showcase their choreography at the Edinburg North High School Fine Arts Auditorium Nov. 8-10.
The Senior Choreography Concert is the final project of the program before graduation. The show consists of one 6 to 8 minute project per senior. Each student spearheads their own project down to the smallest detail, but they don’t actually have to perform.
“You have to do staging, you have to do your own lighting, your own music, you choose your own dancers. You’re required to do your full costumes, makeup…all of that,” said senior Felicia Lara. “It’s basically your own vision.”
The concert will contain various dance styles including folklorico, pointe work and modern.
Folklorico or ballet folklorico (folk dance) derives from Mexico over the past five decades. Folklorico dancers traditionally wear vibrant colored outfits meant to reflect the Mexican culture. This upbeat style consists of exaggerated dance movements like stomping and incorporating their garments into the movements like swinging their dresses and hats through the air.
Pointe work is a technique used in ballet where the dancers perform the movements on the tips of their toes for extended periods of time so as to give the illusion of being weightless and defying gravity. In ballet, dancers normally face the audience and maintain an erect posture with the legs turned outward from the hips (turn-out position).
Modern dance is a rebellion of ballet, according to Lara, who chose to do a modern dance style for her piece. Unlike ballet, modern dance doesn’t have a structured technique to follow, allowing dancers to express their emotions freely through their own movements. Modern dancers will move unreservedly and actually use gravity to their advantage by deliberately falling.
Thirteen seniors are part of the current Bachelor of Dance class. The students had a choice of participating in the production or writing a report on a choreographer of their choice. Two seniors chose the latter. The production itself features about 35 dancers, with some seniors performing in multiple pieces.
“Our program is growing. We don’t have too many yet, so we’ve had to kind of spread everybody out,” 25-year-old Lara said.
Since summer, the students have been working on the project, putting on showings to gain feedback and fine-tuning the details for opening night.
“We want as many people to come out as possible to support the arts here. We’ve put a lot of work into it,” Lara said. “We really appreciate the University’s support and the community’s support to come watch these pieces.”
The shows begin at 7 p.m. with a run time of roughly 2 hours and 10-15 minute intermissions between the performances. Members of the University community will pay admission of $5 and general admission is $8.
“It was a very awesome experience for me and I’m very excited to graduate in May. This is the big thing for us as seniors–the senior project,” Lara said. “To see your piece on stage in full costume, full makeup, full lighting and to be able to say, ‘This is who I am,’ it’s really cool. It’s really nice to see it come to life.”