A return to roots

By By Cressa Perloff

By Cressa Perloff

Four years of college, and what have they got to show for it?

A lot.

This weekend, the U modern dance department is presenting Ultimate Dance Mix Vol. 1. Each year, U modern dance seniors choreograph their own pieces and present them in two separate concerts in the spring. This will be the first of the two.

The concert will present works by half of the department’s seniors. Also, the finale piece is by Natosha Washington, a U modern dance graduate and local choreographer whom the seniors voted to come back to choreograph a piece made specifically for the department’s show.

For the most part, the seniors put on the entire performance by themselves. They received help with technical staging from the modern dance staff-the juniors designed the lighting and U modern dance faculty member Jon Scoville said jokingly that he stands as the “guard rail that keeps them from driving off the freeway to the? future.”

The seniors held an open audition Fall Semester, did their own publicity and choreographed and set up their own rehearsals with the dancers.

“Essentially, it becomes an ad hoc dance? company with duties and responsibilities split among everyone,” Scoville said.

Many seniors plan years ahead for this show.

“(It’s the) culmination of four years,” said senior Josh Anderson. Senior Hannah Carpenter said her piece has been “a work in progress for a couple years now,” as well. She said she has been “happy with the process” and that “the piece is complete and ready to be shown to a larger audience.”

Many seniors said they had to invest a lot of their time and energy into perfecting their performances. And that could be the reason many of them relied on basic dance techniques instead of focusing on modern dance routines.

“(Many have) noticed how many of the seniors have returned?to their dance roots in choreographing work for the concert,” Scoville said.

Anderson also noticed that seniors are “finding their original forms to revisit,” he said.

In the seniors’ choreography, “tap, jazz, Spanish, Taiwanese (and) ballroom influences abound,” Scoville said. It seems that this year, “the idea of culmination is returning to your home place,” Anderson said.

Ultimate Dance Mix Vol. 1 will show today and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. in the Hayes Christensen Theatre in the Marriott Center for Dance. Tickets are $7 for students and $10 for the public and can be purchased by calling 581-7100.