The Norman Transcript

N-town stories

January 10, 2014

OU Dance student showcase shakes the norm

NORMAN — Performing anything from neoclassical to contemporary work, The University of Oklahoma Theatre and School of Dance’s upcoming Young Choreographers’ Showcase (YCS) is chock-full with variety and talent from student choreographers and dancers.

“People are nutcrackered out and they want to see something more cutting edge,” said Clara Cravey Stanley, associate professor of dance. “This is sort of very far away from the nutcracker season, the cute story ballet king of things. It’s a collaboration between the ballet and modern dance department — it’s the one time we rarely work together. We come together as one.”

Featuring 10 different pieces, Stanley said students create the pieces from beginning to end, considering all elements that go into a finished stage product like choreography, costuming, scenic elements and lighting.

Dancers begin the process for YCS at the beginning of the fall semester, expressing an interest to choreograph. Faculty members mentor students throughout the process.

In the beginning, Stanley said about 17 to 18 students applied for the showcase. Widdling the applicants down, Stanley said the showcase teaches students a director may see a piece and deem it not fitting for the companies image. When thinking of the whole showcase, a director needs to decide what meshes and what does not in terms of choreography.

This year’s selected choreographers are Sierra Codalata, Caitlin Cullen, Diana Drummond, Sydney Gettel, Kilmyn Graf, Natalie Kischuk, Kiosh Monroe, Nicole Reehorst, Emma Sadler and Breehannah Young.

Then comes the first of the three faculty adjudications. Choreographers and faculty line the walls of a large studio while dancers fill the room. A student choreographer then teaches about one minute of his or her piece and the student dancers then perform that piece. The choreographer writes down names he or she would like to see in their work but the faculty makes the ultimate casting decisions.

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