Spring Brown Bag week begins
Published: Sunday, February 24, 2013
Updated: Sunday, February 24, 2013 22:02
Music blares from the speakers of studio b100 in Meadows as dancers contort their bodies in the style of modern dance.
The group moves only to sounds of beats and spoken word, yet they all move together with such precision.
A student stands in the back watching the performers carefully, nodding along as the dancers execute the choreography she
SMU dance majors put on student-choreographed pieces in a weeklong performance entitled the Brown Bag Dance Series.
Brown Bag is a biannual event that is compiled of 10-12 dances. Brown Bag performances this year are next week on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at noon and Tuesday and Thursday at 12:30 p.m.
Students in the dance program are all invited to choreograph a dance for the event, but there is no guarantee that their dance will make the final cut.
Sophomore dance major Kelly Zitka is choreographing her first Brown Bag piece this year and was nervous about her piece getting through adjudication.
Adjudication is the process when the dances preform in front of a board of three dance professors who normally specialize in different types of dance.
The professors, who have never seen the pieces before adjudication, then pick the dances that they think fit into Brown Bag.
“It is probably the most stressful part of the show because you put two weeks worth of work into the adjudication and if it doesn’t make the show…people will never see it. People will never know what your work was,” Zitka said.
If the piece makes the final cut, there are normally around three more rehearsals and one dress rehearsal until the first official performance.
Brown Bag works on a very tight schedule, so both the choreographer and the dancers have to come extremely prepared to each rehearsal.
According to Zitka, she never pictured herself choreographing a dance, but because of all of the opportunities SMU gives for student choreographing she couldn’t turn it down.
Choreographing has allowed Zitka to learn new things about herself and the dancers in her piece.
According to Zitka, choreography is not solely about the choreographer’s idea. It is give-and-take between both the dancers and the choreographer.
“You help your cast, you are inspired by them,” Zitka said.
Sophomore Hattie Haggard is choreographing her third Brown Bag piece this year and wants to choreograph professionally in
“Whenever I hear good music or a good song, I automatically start seeing dances to it. When I found a good song that I feel influences me a lot, I want to make an actual piece to it,” Haggard said.
SMU dancers spend a lot of time on the Brown Bag performance, often staying up until 11:30 p.m. or later practicing.
Michael Saunders, a junior philosophy and Spanish major, is finally able to express his passion for dance in his Brown Bag debut.
It is extremely rare for non-dance majors to be allowed to perform in Brown Bag, and Saunders is not taking this honor lightly.
For the past three years when Saunders was only a spectator, he said that every time he watched Brown Bag he felt a burning passion in his heart, but ignored it.
When he finally took a dance class last semester, he fell in love with it.
“I want people who see me in Brown Bag to want to follow their dreams, to never say no,” Saunders said.
He followed his dreams to dance and now is preforming in the very series that inspired him in the first place.
Performing alongside dance majors has been the strangest part for Saunders, because in his mind he is still sitting in the front row as the spectator.
Brown Bag performers put hours of hard work into the week long series, and preforming in Brown Bag is some of the dancers’ highlight of the year.
“Brown Bag for me is really about the entertainment aspect and showing the SMU student population what we love. I want them to see how much I love dance,” Zitka said.
Brown Bag is a free performance that is about an hour long and takes place in the lobby of Meadows.