Junior/Senior dancers show their emotions through movement

Anxiety. Loss. Therapeutic healing. Overcoming a problem. Being the hottest mess you’ll ever see.

These are all examples of the emotions and situations expressed at the Junior/Senior Showcase on Friday, March 23, and Saturday, March 24. In the student-run show, nine juniors and four seniors performed the dances they had been working on all semester in front of an audience at the Performing Arts Center (The Barn). The students started getting ready for this show by doing exercises that would allow them to get their creative juices flowing. After that was done, the students applied some of their discoveries to their own movements. They were graded on the process and effort of their work by Professor France Hunter.

Each performer choreographed and performed their own dances. Senior Erin Saunders worked as a producer for this show in addition to performing her own piece. She admitted that it added more stress, but both shows ran without any mistakes or technical difficulties and she was very happy with both shows.

Saunders’ dance was about her anxiety, nostalgia, and memories.

“In the beginning of the dance, the audience sees a glimpse into what my anxiety looks and feels like in my body. As the sound score progresses, the static dissipates and you start to hear bits and pieces of ‘The Boss’ by Diana Ross. This represents coming out of an anxiety attack and coming into my natural, relaxed self,” Saunders said. “Once the song hits in full swing, I am dancing and breathing as my happiest self. The piece ends with the static because although I have my great moments, anxiety is a never-ending circle.”

Her dance was also performed in memory of her mom, who passed away about five months ago.

“She was somebody that really helped me in times of anxiety. ‘The Boss’ was one of our favorite songs together, so it felt so right to add it to my sound score to represent becoming my true self,” Saunders said. “Right before the lights go up, all I really thought about was my Mom. She was the driving force behind this piece, and I could really feel her presence as I was on that stage, being completely vulnerable with the audience.”

Senior Layne Willis also performed a dance for her mother, who raised her as a single parent. 

The two major themes that I worked with and focused on in the process of creating the solo was the exhaustion of being a single parent in juxtaposition with the strength it takes to be so independent and raise another human being without a partner.” said Willis. 

She explained that before every show, she still gets a little nervous and loses her breath for a quick moment, but the nerves quickly fade and she feels at home on stage. 

Nothing compares to feeling of being on stage,” said Willis. “I really think everyone should do it at least once in their life.”

Junior Samantha Verity danced to sections from the album “Surf” by Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment and Chance The Rapper, and wowed the audience with her sharp movements that perfectly matched the beat.

“Rhythm and musicality are sources of therapeutic healing,” Verity said. “The simple act of just finding my own groove to different sounds, beats, music, etc., expresses who I am as an individual.”

Andrea Palacios attended the show on Saturday night and expressed her amazement at the talent of the dancers.

“My favorite dance by far was Sam’s because it was so energetic and fun and she performed so well,” Palacios said. “As someone who’s never really been to a dance show, I was so amazed at how much energy and passion all the performers put into their dances. It was really amazing to watch.”