The annual student dance concert is a time for the young choreographers and dancers of the Boyer College of Music and Dance to show off their best work and get the recognition they deserve at the start of their professional dance careers.
The concert is a juried selection of student dance work and glorifies the proud students whose pieces are chosen because it is a highly competitive selection process.
Three shows were held on the weekend of November 15-16 this year. Conwell Dance Theater, the black box dance theater located on the fifth floor of Conwell Hall, saw a friendly crowd of family members, friends, members of the dance community, and overall supporters of the students dancing or presenting choreography in the show.
Jessica Goodale, a sophomore dance major at Temple University, was one of eleven students whose choreography was selected to be in the show. Her piece was titled Timeworn and was performed by two other dance majors, Nia Shand and Sophie Anne Moore. The dancers, wearing red tops and black shorts, moved in syncopation with each other and at times used identical movement. The music had a very syncopated rhythm to it and the lighting was generally dark, almost so that only the outline of the dancers’ bodies could be shown.
“My piece started as an assignment for dance composition class,” Goodale said about her piece. “ Jillian Harris assigned a piece of music and two dancers. Our assignment was to choreograph a piece about time and how we can work through time to change the audience’s experiences as they’re watching the dance, so I played around a lot with time.“
Goodale, who started dancing at the age of two, studied dance at Marymount College for a semester before transferring to Temple. She has experience choreographing commercial style dance for dance teams and competitions, but this is her first modern piece. Goodale says that her two dancers, Shand and Moore, were a huge contributing factor to her piece.
“The different styles of the dancers really added a lot to the piece. There was certain points where I would say, ‘Sophie Anne I want you to move around the space and come in front of Nia in a count of eight’, and she would improvise it,” Goodale said. “I would give guidelines like, I want jumping or smooth movements, but they contributed a lot with their own styles.”
Another powerful example of student work selected to be in the show was the piece every by Kailey McCrudden, a junior dance major at Temple University. Five dancers, including McCrudden herself, took the stage in a highly energized and accented piece to a very rhythmic song.
“My piece was inspired by walking and cross walks, but it became a very loose and abstract interpretation of those things,” McCrudden said. “It was not meant to send a message to the audience, I just wanted people to enjoy the movement and composition. It was a strictly kinesthetic presentation.”
The dancers wore grey shirts and maroon pants as they strutted across the stage with purpose, at times moving in-step with each other and becoming identical to the other dancers.
McCrudden, a native of upstate New York and dancer since the age of four, has choreographed two other pieces that have been selected for the student dance concert. She also choreographed a piece that was shown in The Bates Dance Festival New Works Showcase this past summer.