SUU Students Answer Life's Questions Through Dance

Published: January 26, 2023 | Author: Kol Gibson | Read Time: 4 minutes

Nine Students Pose on a Staircase in the Winter.The Southern Utah University Dance Program is delighted to announce the Spring Student Dance Concert What makes you/What makes us on February 10, 11, & 13, 2023 at 7:30 p.m. and a matinee on February 11, 2023 at 2:00 p.m. in the Randall L. Jones Theatre. 

Every spring semester, SUU Dance students have the opportunity to fully choreograph, arrange, and perform a concert that showcases and expands their professional and artistic skills. With the mentorship and support of fantastic faculty and staff, the students are able to create something beautiful and educational. 

“It has been a challenging yet rewarding experience choreographing my own piece,” says student choreographer Olivia Willden. “I’ve never created work this long or rich in content, nor have I been accountable for my own lighting, costuming, and sound ideas. It’s been a special process seeing my concept manifest, and I’m excited to present something that has come purely from myself and my dancers. It will be so beneficial to take this experience and knowledge with me into the professional world when I graduate.”

Nine student choreographers are working together on this concert under the coordination of Dance faculty member Andrea Vazquez-Aguirre. Together, they came up with the title What makes you/What makes us because the common thread in their compositions was individuality, community, and humanity.

“We wanted to present the audience with a question,” shares student choreographer Taylor Tumminia. “While understanding why we as choreographers decided to go on this journey and be a part of this process, why not also prompt the audience to answer a similar question: why are you here?”

Fellow student choreographer Elley White continues, “What makes you/What makes us describes a commonality in us and how we can question ourselves to find out who we are and why we are that way. We can find that it is easier than we think to find congruity within a group of people and relate to one another on deeper levels.”

A wide variety of techniques and dance styles will be exhibited throughout the performance, but the stories being told by the dancers are relatable to audience members of all dance abilities and walks of life. The students have choreographed works that run the gambit from something as everyday as walking to class, to mental wellness and the exploration of the tiny coincidences that become significant in our lives.

Nine Students Pose While Holding Hands on a Crosswalk

What makes you/What makes us resonates with me because I think it really communicates the idea that even in our individual experiences we are still connected,” says student choreographer Esmé Jolee, “This experience has shown me where my deficits and strengths really lie, which connects me to my fellow choreographers as well as the audience. I just hope that everyone can find something that resonates with them!”

Eli Davis, another student choreographer, shares, “Working with the other choreographers has been such a joy over these past weeks, as is hearing how we are all able to understand the art that our peers are offering and understand why it is important that we all have different voices. This concert will be captivating because of the many talents and artistic perspectives being shared.”

Find out the answers to What makes you/What makes us along with the SUU Dance program on February 10, 11, and 13 at 7:30 p.m. and on February 11 at 2:00 p.m. in the Randall L. Jones Theatre. Tickets can be purchased up to an hour before each performance at the Utah Shakespeare Festival Box Office, over the phone at (435) 586-7878, or online by following the instructions at


 About the College of Performing and Visual Arts

The College of Performing and Visual Arts (CPVA) at Southern Utah University comprises 41 academic programs including liberal arts (BA/BS) and professional (BFA, BM, BMEd) degrees in art, design, dance, filmmaking, music, and theatre. It includes graduate programs in the fields of arts administration (MFA, MA), music education (MME), and music technology (MM). More than 60 full-time faculty and staff are engaged in teaching and mentoring over 900 majors in the College. CPVA presents over 100 performances, lectures, presentations, and exhibitions each year and is affiliated with the Southern Utah Museum of Art (SUMA), Utah Shakespeare Festival, and the Center for Shakespeare Studies. Southern Utah University is an accredited member of the National Association of Schools of Art & Design (NASAD), National Association of Schools of Dance (NASD), National Association of Schools of Music (NASM), and the National Association of Schools of Theatre (NAST) making SUU the first public university in the state of Utah to be accredited by all four associations. For more information about the College of Performing and Visual Arts, visit


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