"Taking Flight: Jumping In" | Photo by Kellie Jo Brown

Surrender to the moment

HSU dance department puts on its spring performance
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HSU dance department puts on its spring performance

The Gist Hall Theater is small, intimate and perfect for the upcoming spring performance from the dance department. “Surrendings” features 11 performances, six of which were choreographed by students, and debuts on April 5.

The performance focuses on aspects of vulnerability, social anxiety and experiences not fully expressed or understood by all. Tatum Olander, a junior majoring in dance, is performing in three pieces in the upcoming performance. Olander also choreographed a piece titled “I see you now,” which touches on aspects of mental health.

“In dance, we get into our heads a lot and focus too much on perfection,” Olander said. “We need to embrace the randomness. My piece is based around what goes through the mind during a panic attack.”

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“I See You Now” | Photo by Kellie Jo Brown

Olander said that she wants the dancers in her piece to use their own emotions to express themselves in order to illicit a reaction from the audience. Olander also said that she suffers from panic attacks and under-generalized anxiety and uses dance as a way to express herself and to release emotions. Emotions and social anxiety can manifest in many ways.

For Gabby Connors, it has prevented her from fully expressing her diverse background. Connors is performing in a piece that she choreographed herself, titled “danh tính.” Which is Vietnamese for identity.

“It is a very emotional piece,” Connors said. “It is about being from a multi-cultural background and not knowing where to fit in. The topic of the piece is something that I have dealt with and struggled with. When I got older, I felt more comfortable talking about it.”

Connors said that the piece is a contemporary one, meaning that it is essentially a mix between modern dance techniques and ballet. According to Connors, modern dance came about as a rejection of the rigidity and structure of ballet. Contemporary dance essentially combines the fluid upper body movements of modern dance and applies the structured lower body movements of ballet and establishes a movement of controlled flow.

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“The Earth is Where We Make Our Stand” | Photo by Kellie Jo Brown

Victoria Perez, a junior majoring in kinesiology with a dance minor, has been dancing since she was in the eighth grade and said that it has always been a passion of hers. Perez described dancing as a release from the pressures of her major and said there is a lot of overlap between dance and kinesiology.

In dance, one has to focus on intense physical excursions as well as health and proper diet, which Perez said kinesiology has helped in understanding what works best. For Perez, the upcoming performance is about connecting with the audience and generating discussions. She wants the audience to take something with them after the show is over.

“Surrendings is about expressing our vulnerabilities and having an audience there to listen,” Perez said. “We want them to start talking about subjects that they weren’t able to talk about or understand before.”

“Surrendings” will run on April 5-6 and April 11-13 at 7:30 p.m. and on April 14 at 14 at 2:00 p.m. Tickets are $8 for students/seniors and $10 for the general public. They are available at the door or at the University Ticket Office.

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