As a part of this year’s Young Choreographer’s Series, which took place from Nov. 12-15, 11 student-choreographed pieces graced the stage of the New Dance Theatre.
The pieces themselves explored themes such as anxiety, self-love and mental health. While previous years’ shows mainly consisted of contemporary pieces, this year also featured hip-hop and jazz pieces.
In addition to choreographing her own piece, Malia Craft, a junior dance major from Hartwell, Georgia, performed in senior Rachel Kelley’s piece called “Meta.” The dancers in the show represented neurons in the brain through the use of choreography and small lights that were attached to the dancers’ hands.
The Young Choreographer’s Series gave Claire Peoples, a senior dance major from Roswell, Georgia, the opportunity to choreograph her first full-length group piece last year. Titled “feathered,” the piece consisted of five dancers and one featured soloist. Peoples’ artistic vision for the piece was to display a person’s experience going through the five stages of grief.
“Even if [the audience] doesn’t understand what your inspiration is, they can tell what was made with intention,” Peoples said.
This year, Peoples choreographed the piece “and it will be found again.” The piece was the show’s opener, and began with an empty stage and a cloud of mist. The dancers trickled in as the music begins, and their movements became more powerful with the group lifting a dancer at various crescendos in the music.
In comparison to last year’s show Peoples said there was a lot more collaboration between her and her dancers during the choreography process.
“That’s basically the challenge of finding out who they are as choreographers: How they like to work,” said Rebecca Gose, an advisor for the show and a professor and academic advisor for the Department of Dance. “Do they like to work by obtaining the music first or being inspired by the music?”
Choreographers taught their pieces to other students under the Department of Dance and also performed in other student-choreographed pieces.
“I’m excited that the students all took risks and took on really exciting ideas,” Gose said.
After going from two senior choreographers last year to five seniors this year, junior dance major Craft said she considers the Young Choreographer’s Series an “up-and-coming” show.
This is the second time Craft has participated in the Young Choreographer’s Series. In addition to taking classes with the Department of Dance, Craft is a member of the Georgettes with the UGA Redcoat Marching Band’s halftime shows at the football games and as a teacher for dance classes at Ramsey.
While Craft said dancing on the football field is a “completely different style of dance,” she was “excited” for her family and friends to see her perform in the Young Choreographer’s Series which is the type of dance she “really loves.”
Auditions for the show were held at the beginning of the semester for students under the department who were enrolled in classes under, DANC or PEDB, for the semester.
Student choreographers aren’t given much restriction when creating their piece, as long as they are able to justify their creative decisions. The only real restriction given to student choreographers was the length of their piece. Senior pieces had to be 8-12 minutes long, while junior pieces only had to be 3-5 minutes long.