Dance performances

WT Dancers Look Inside For Inspiration For “Falling into Dance” Performances

CANYON – Dances inspired by family, injustice and the rhythm of life come together for a virtual dance concert by students from West Texas A&M University.

The annual “Falling into Dance” performance airs at 7:30 p.m. on November 20 and 21. Tickets are $10 for the general public and free for WT faculty, staff, and students; buyers will receive a link to watch the pre-recorded performances.

The dance concert will feature three solo pieces choreographed and performed by senior dance majors as part of their baseline requirement – Raeann Davis from Rockwall, Kelly Mundell from Gunnison, Colorado, and L’oreal Sylvester from Humble. The concert will also feature two ensemble pieces choreographed by former WT Mariah Rome, a May 2020 graduate of Hugoton, Kan.

The virtual concert was necessitated by the ongoing pandemic and COVID-19 safety precautions, which also impacted how students rehearsed for the show, said dance director Crystal Bertrand. from WT.

“It was a challenge, but the students really persevered through all these new ways of learning,” Bertrand said.

Rome’s ensemble pieces include solos, duets and trios – all performed at least 6 feet apart.

The first – titled “406 W. 57th St., New York, New York, 10019, Apt. 23-B”, or “App. 23-B” for short – is Rome’s extrapolation of the various lives lived in a New York apartment, featuring the stories of a single mother and daughter, a struggling businessman and of a divorced couple, among others.

The second, “Aligned”, is inspired by the seven chakras, or focal points, used in meditation practices, including yoga.

“A dancer represents each chakra, which really allowed them to come into character with specific intentions,” Rome said.

Both pieces were filmed by videographer Amarillo Schae Burley on location at the new Paul Engler College of Agriculture and Natural Sciences complex.

The three solo plays were filmed by WT Broadcasting student Jordan Unfred at the Happy State Bank Studio Theater at the Sybil B. Harrington Fine Arts Complex.

Davis’ piece, “Resonate,” is a solo tap number “playing with beats that you find throughout life — through the music that I feel in my heart,” Davis said.

She was inspired by a common refrain from her first dance teacher, Rockwall’s Sherri Fozkos: “No matter what happens, go back and find your rhythm.”

Mundell’s piece, “Something Human”, is based on Michael Jackson’s song “Will You Be There” and was inspired by his father’s love of 80s music.

“I can’t stop grooving when I hear this song, and it makes me happy to be able to dance,” Mundell said. “This piece is for my family and expresses the fact of being able to dance in a world where some people would be grateful to have half of it.”

Sylvester’s work finds inspiration in more serious subjects: the life and death of Kalief Browder, a young African-American man who was wrongfully arrested and spent three years behind bars on Rikers Island. His family was not allowed to post bail for him, and after his eventual release he suffered from mental health issues and ultimately committed suicide. He was featured in director Ava DuVernay’s Oscar-nominated documentary “13th,” and his death inspired changes at Rikers, including a ban on solitary confinement for youth in the system.

“His story, the injustice of it all, resonated with me a lot,” Sylvester said. “That’s why I use a lot of resistance in my movements – because he was fighting so hard.”

Box office hours are 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. For tickets, call 806-651-2804 or email [email protected]