‘Committed Step’ for Student Dancers in Concert

Published: January 28, 2015 | Author: Jessica Young | Read Time: 2 minutes

SUU student dancers for Committed Step concertTurning on the nightly news you may see a bustling courtroom, but for Southern Utah University assistant professor of dance, Denise Purvis, and her students they see a room teeming with movement and exploration just ready to be discovered.

In the recent media-lit deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, Purvis found an opportunity to educate her dancers to find movement in the verdicts and riots, and what was born was Trapped by my Silence, which is now slated to be performed in the annual faculty choreographed dance concert, Committed Step, beginning Wednesday, January 28.

Along with the emotion-filled dance choreographed by Purvis, Patricia Meredith, SUU assistant professor of dance, stages a memory piece entitled Elegy with one student dancers stating that the “littlest movements are full of so much meaning. A simple opening hand becomes breathtaking.”

With students twirling to music featuring Johann Straus, II and Macklemore, one student, MeKinzey Parks, senior dance education major, is left saying, “I love working with my professors in this way because they can take a simple concept and create a dance out of it. It makes learning it challenging but I have been able to take the dance to heart.”

Purvis responded to Parks’ comment and said, “It is always my goal when choreographing in an educational setting to push my students to contemplate their relationship with their environment and community while also gaining new technical and artistic skill.”

Along with the faculty-choreographed dances, the dance concert will feature work from several dance professors as well as guest artist Charlotte Boye-Christensen. Acclaimed for her work with NOW International/Interdisciplinary Dance Company and her choreographed numbers with Ballet West and the Singapore Dance Theater. For SUU she has created an original work for the student dancers.  

The concert will also feature work from dance pioneers Burch Mann and Kathleen Fotheringham.

Committed Step will run January 28-31 and February 2 at 7:30 p.m. with a special matinee on January 31 at 2 p.m. with all performances in the Randall L. Jones Theatre, tickets for adults are $10; SUU alumni with card $8; students/youth $5; and SUU faculty, staff and students admitted free with valid ID. All seats are general admission.

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