‘{En}compass’ Showcases Student Innovation and Artistry in School of Dance


“{En}compass” promo. (Photo by Aubrie Holman)

By Tervela Georgieva, Arts Writer


On Nov. 18, the University of Utah’s School of Dance premiered its ballet showcase “{En}compass.” The showcase featured student-created works by the Ballet Choreography III & Production course. Innovative and versatile, “{En}compass” exemplifies the range of movement style and commitment to artistry of School of Dance students. 

Students Shine 

Each piece of “En{compass}” was unique from movement style to sound and lighting creating an exciting atmosphere of experiment. 

“Regimen or Ritual”, choreographed by Aubrie Nield Holman, featured dancers moving together with hive-like precision, reflecting the precision of routines we create in our lives. The lighting created a layered physical space on the stage. In one moment light was projected in a pattern on the floor, in another dancers enshrouded in darkness looked like shadows in the background of the stage. 

Mindy Lasko’s “Photosynthesis” subverted musical expectations for a traditional ballet performance. The piece is set to Mort Garson’s “Plantasia” and “Symphony for a Spider Plant,” for an electronic and hypnotic experience of ballet. 

“Моя Україна,” choreographed by AJ Maio, blended elements of Ukrainian folk dance, character dance and ballet. Dancers wore traditional Ukrainian dresses, crowns with long, colorful ribbons and black heels. The communal aspect of Ukrainian folk dance was reflected when the dancers performed as a group. 

Annastasia Beller’s “HeartStrung” was an intimate dance of two. It featured moments of tender embrace and caring — one of the dancers helped the other take off their pointe shoe exploring the closeness we can develop in our relationships. 

Reflecting On the Return to Dance

“En{compass}” did not only showcase the innovation and artistry of students but also provided a think-space for complex ideas about re-establishing our relationships in a post-pandemic world — our relationship to others and to ourselves. 

Luna Esmerode’s “Te Quiero Te Quiero Te Quiero” explored what it means to feel connected to one’s heritage. Confusions about heritage and identity can cause us to experience isolation from our communities, but this piece exemplifies how we can embrace all the parts of ourselves and push past feelings of disconnection.

Hannah Huang’s “Tenderly” — a duet performed by a man and woman — challenged the viewer to view the piece through a platonic lens, rather than a heteroromantic one. It created the opportunity to witness a tender platonic relationship and question narratives that hold romantic relationships to be the most fulfilling and intimate relationships.

“{En}compass” was a thought-provoking joy and moment of witness to the hard work and dedication of School of Dance students. The showcase is an important milestone in the experience and meaning of dance in a post-pandemic world.

Upcoming School of Dance performances include: “Graduate Concert” which runs from Dec. 2-4. For more information on upcoming performances, visit the School of Dance website. To stream future School of Dance performances free of charge, visit dance.utah.edu/virtualshows.


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