Grace. Beauty. Agility. The Grim Reaper? "In the Season," two new shows by the School of Dance, is an integration of ballet, modern and jazz dancing mixed with popular music and style. It is a flight away from what most people picture when they think of dance. This is definitely no "Nutcracker."
Featuring such diverse themes as cats, death, rock climbing and paralysis, "In the Season" shows the talents of both graduate and undergraduate students. The specific dances that are scheduled to be performed vary between the shows today and tomorrow, and the shows on Saturday and Sunday, giving more students the opportunity to showcase their talent.
"A piece that I think will be interesting for a lot of people is a piece called 'Nine Lives,' which is all about cats," dance professor Michael Williams said. "There will be a staircase on the stage and people running all around like cats, and it's really fun. It's choreographed by (School of Dance professor) Melissa Lowe."
The performances demonstrate the diversity of talent within the School of Dance by allowing the students to tackle a variety of themes. So while some students are dancing like cats, others are dancing to the tune of death.
"'Grim Tales,' which is choreographed by Sam Watson, is a dark fantasy that has music by Korn and other avantgarde-type music," Williams said.
Watson is an artist in residence at the School of Dance. "Nine Lives" and "Grim Tales" will be performed all four days.
"There is a solo about rock climbing called 'Between a Rock and a Hard Place,' which is choreographed and danced by one of our graduate students named Tracy Marion, which is a very interesting piece," Williams said. Marion is a dance graduate student.
The recital also includes abstract modern pieces that have been performed in out-of-state festivals.
"'Secrets,' by Amy Ernst, is done with four women on a table, and it was just performed at the Kansas Dance Festival a week ago, is really a lovely work," Williams said.
Ernst is a School of Dance associate professor. Another piece, "Analysis Paralysis," is deeply conceptual, touching on themes of psychology. It was not choreographed to any music.
"'Analysis Paralysis,' choreographed by John Dahlstrand, is all done in silence and is about a guy dealing with his neuroses, which is a very interesting and different piece," Williams said.
Dahlstrand is the School of Dance technical director. However, some pieces are music-intensive. For example, "Two Violins," by dance senior Ashley Bowman, is performed with live musicians on stage with the dancers, Williams said. The Saturday and Sunday shows also feature the duets "Eyes, Hide & Seek," and "Nos Que," both choreographed by dance graduate students.
"This show has a really diverse repertoire, representing ballet, modern and jazz pieces. All in all, these shows are really quite a hodgepodge of dances, but something that will be really interesting for the audience because it has such diversity and so many different kinds of dynamics and qualities throughout the show," Williams said.
The show runs today through Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 1:30 p.m. in the Stevie Eller Dance Theatre. Tickets are available at the Fine Arts Box Office or by calling 621-1162.