MANHATTAN — New dances will highlight SpringDance ‘18, which features Kansas State University students performing original choreography by dance faculty.
SpringDance ‘18 will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, April 6-7, at McCain Auditorium. It is a production of the university’s School of Music, Theatre, and Dance.
Included in the cast is Emma Ayre, sophomore in sociology, Pawnee Rock, as a dancer.
West African dance takes the spotlight in SpringDance ‘18 with special guest artists Bernard Woma and Evelyn Beyoun. Woma is the founder and director of the Saakumu Dance Troupe, Ghana, West Africa; Beyoun is a dancer with the company. Woma and Beyoun joined the K-State African Ensemble in three traditional and high-energy West African social dances, which represented different ethnic groups in Ghana.
Tap and jazz pieces will also be presented. “This and That,” choreographed by Julie L. Pentz, associate professor and director of the university’s dance program, will be performed by the K-State Tap Dance Ensemble and tap dancers from the dance program. This fun, flirty dance to music from the Broadway musical “SWING!” features traditional tap dance style with some rhythm tap dance flavors.
“Time, Tension, Belief, Silence and Strength,” also choreograped by Pentz, is a jazz piece that features 12 dancers. This piece was created with inspiration from Pentz’s interactions on a recent visit to Kuwait. Pentz said many of the people she met shared their stories from the 1990 invasion by Iraq and Sadaam Hussein, which Pentz said showed their strength in the most difficult time of their lives. Her experience in Kuwait shaped the title of her piece: Time heals, Tension remains, Belief in a prosperous future, Silence of the pain, and Strength that all humans hold to make a difference in the world.
“Here/Waiting” by Kate Digby, assistant professor of dance, will be performed by a modern dance quartet that explores — very abstractly — the idea that the things we are striving toward are already manifest in the spiritual realm. A recurrent folk dance in which the dancers perform unison staccato stepping patterns interrupts more idiosyncratic solos and duets, evoking a sense of community that is simultaneously a flashback and a flash forward, according to Digby.
In response to President Myers call to continue the dialogue of KSUnite after the KSUnite rally in November 2017, Digby invited students in the dance program and across the College of Arts and Sciences to contribute to a collaborative exploration of thoughts and feelings related to the campus climate through embodied creative practice. The resulting work, “I Said What I Said,” is a conglomeration of students’ poems and choreography, combined with excerpts from letters from the K-State Black Student Union and American Ethnic Studies Student Association and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Jan. 19, 1968, speech at Kansas State University, offered as a reflection of where we’ve been and how far we have left to go ... together.