Dance seniors perform final show at GVSU

By Taylor Crowley | 12/11/17 1:32am

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GVL / Emily Frye GV senior dance recital rehearsal on Thursday November 30, 2017.

Grand Valley State University seniors Sarah Byington, Coral Howard, Mackenzie Matyn, Leigha McDaniel and Hannah Suydam hosted their final dance show on Saturday, Dec. 9. From holding auditions for dancers, choreographing the routines and styling the costumes, these performers had a part in all of it.

The show was held in the dance studio theater in the Haas Center for Performing Arts. At the door, every guest received a program that listed the titles of the routines, names of the dancers and a detailed description of the background of the dance. The choreographers had been working on these routines since the beginning of the fall semester. 

The dancers performed in choreographed group pieces that each featured different styles. From modern dance to hip-hop, ballet and jazz, the show featured an expansive range of genres. The variety of the show kept the crowd engaged and entertained.

“I’m glad people came out and enjoyed some free entertainment and got away from finals for a few hours," McDaniel said. "I hope they enjoyed the variety of the show because we worked really hard on it."

In McDaniel’s piece, there were props used for abstraction, and mini trampolines made a cameo in her routine, too. However, McDaniel said it took the dancers quite some time to figure out how to use the trampolines in a way that kept them looking clean and precise. 

Other routines featured portrayals of disordered thinking patterns, the disconnection between mind and body as a result Parkinson’s disease, learning self-acceptance, and reaching an alternative reality through dreaming.

Most of the lighting used in the routines was dark, setting the tone for the eerie performances. The dancers were fluent in their movements and hit each move with precision, making it obvious that they had been working day and night to guarantee a smooth performance. 

“Ever since we were freshmen, we’ve known we had to do this, so we’ve spent the past four years kind of thinking about what we wanted to do, and it changed a million times,” Suydam said.

Suydam expressed her joy in getting to spend the last four years with the seniors she danced alongside. However, she said it was bittersweet that it was coming to an end. The seniors will be parting ways after graduation with plans to pursue their dreams in cities such as Los Angeles, Chicago and New York. 

The attendance of the event was high. Before the doors closed at 7 p.m., there were people still lined up at the door. Some of the attendees even took a seat front row on the floor to make sure they could see the show. 

At the end, the five senior choreographers performed one last dance together, a piece portraying the enjoyment of each other’s company and the enjoyment of the simple things in life. 

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