This past weekend, Feb. 5-6, the UVU Dance team, along with artistic directors Mark Borchelt and Jamie A. Johnson, presented a Repertory Ballet Ensemble in Concert. Director Johnson said, “As a director, I am always looking for ways to be relevant, challenge the students and show the breadth of the field. Ballet encompasses a wide range of styles from classical to neoclassical to contemporary. We try to showcase the range of styles within our concerts.”
Filming, which was accomplished in collaboration with UVU Broadcast Services, took place in settings across the UVU campus. Dance classrooms in the Liberal Arts Building, The Noorda Center for the Performing Arts and UVU campus gardens were all the backdrop to the graceful movements of dancers Stephani Barnes, Tatum Bates, Kylie Grant, Makena Lyman, Mikayla Milligan, Olivia Perry, Kendra Rangel, Hannah Roberts, Mary Shaw, Ciera Smith, Megan Stallings and Maren Wood. The dance routines took on a new ambiance as viewers enjoyed the virtual performance from computer screens across the valley. Neither this nor the masks worn by the dancers diminished the emotion and inspiration radiated by each performer.
The original choreographies titled Just Ten Minutes, Before the Fall, Alice in Pandemicland and Swan Lake, Excerpt, were infused with sentiments familiar to us all throughout this past COVID year. The opening dance, Just Ten Minutes, spoke to the exhaustion students on campuses across the nation have been feeling with mounting responsibilities at school, work and extracurricular activities during an uncertain public health crisis. Choreographed by Stefan Zubal, Just Ten Minutes depicts a student working on online assignments who gets interrupted by a fellow dance mate reminding her that practice is in a few minutes, but all she wants to do is nap.
Have you felt this past year’s events were like a dream? Well, appropriately titled, Alice in Pandemicland captured a classic tale from this point-of-view. Dancers portrayed familiar characters like the Mad Hatter, Cheshire Cat and Queen of Hearts, among others, in this contemporary, jazz/hip hop/techno-infused take on Alice in Wonderland.
The Repertory Ballet Ensemble in Concert was a validation to our current collective emotions and an inspiration to lift our spirits. To catch more original, magical performances by the UVU Dance Team follow their Facebook page @UVUarts.