Fall Dance Concert gets bolder this year


Photo by James Tananan Kamnuedkhun

Michael Warner performs in a traditional Chinese dance titled “YangGe,” choreographed as part of a Chinese special topics class this semester.

Kayla Drake, Editor-in-Chief

There will be ten pieces shown at the Fall Dance Concert this year, and they will be making bolder statements than in the past – addressing mental health, political divides and mass shootings in America.

Tricia Zweier, associate professor and concert director, said dance should be making these statements.

The concert is choreographed by both students and faculty. Senior Sydney Gibbs said she views choreographing as a way to speak up.

“People are getting fed up with things and becoming more interested in saying what they are fed up with,” Gibbs said.

Zweier said there was no intentional theme or design in messaging for the concert.

“I think the collection of them was just a happy accident,” Zweier said.

Viewers unfamiliar with dance concerts may put more weight on entertainment, but it can also educate or enlighten, Zweier said.

“It’s kind of like a form of therapy,” Zweier said. “It can help people get out what they need to get out and whether it sparks conversation or not, the part of the process of getting these things out.”

Sydney Gibbs used her piece to speak on America’s politicized climate, titling it “Divided We Fall.”

The piece starts out with an evident contrast, dividing the stage in blue and red, linking to the Democratic and Republican parties. The song “Let’s Be Friends” ironically opens the act, with dancers in red and blue suits attempting to shake hands but never actually doing it.

In “Divided We Fall” Gibbs challenged the Democratic and Republican party’s separation in America.
Photo by James Tananan Khamnuedkhan

Gibbs said she never wanted to portray one party as better than the other. Instead, she wanted to focus on what she said is a result of the parties never agreeing: mass shootings.

Audio from Sandy Hook, Las Vegas, Columbine and Parkland shootings dominate the stage at the end.

“I wanted people to listen and just see my dancers walking out and laying down to be a visual representation of people dying because of this,” Gibbs said. “You’ve probably heard this audio before in your home, on your television.” 

The concert also features traditional Chinese dance, live musicians in a tap performance and caps the night off with a Queen tribute.

In the end, Zweier said the concert is intended for people to feel something.

The concert is showing Nov. 7-9 in the Lindenwood Theater and starts at 7:30 p.m. every night. General admission is $10, but students can get a free ticket.