Rebecca Moore, a senior dance major, wants to smash pineapples and eat fruit during her dance piece, while Gabi Stilwell, also a senior dance major, is working with costume designers in Mexico who only speak Spanish.
The two students are part of this year’s Senior Showcase, a performance produced entirely by senior dance majors. The students choreograph the show as part of a new capstone class led by Christopher Dolder and they will be graded on the production.
The show will be held on April 22 and 23 in the Bob Hope Theatre in the Owen Arts Center at 6 p.m. and will cost $5. For more info visit the SMU Meadows website.
The Senior Showcase was previously known as the Sharp Show, which was held in the basement of Meadows. The Sharp Show was not a class for academic credit.
“This is the first year where the senior show is actually part of the class,” said Hannah Hess, a senior dance major. “It’s going to add more rigor because we get to work with all aspects of the show.”
Moore, Stillwell and other students were sitting on the floor one recent day in the Owens Arts Center dance studio, excitedly discussing the performance. Each dancer gave an update of the progress they had made with their piece. Dolder asked each student choreographer to have a video of their progress by the next class period.
Dolder said the Senior Showcase would be the first opportunity for the students to market themselves and brand themselves as artists, and the videos would help track their progress.
The students must choreograph, pick the dancers, and raise the money needed for the production.
“While we are being graded, our teacher emphasizes it’s not about the letter grade, it’s about the work we put in,” said Reid Frye, a senior dance major. “It has been really fun to call the shots.”
Dolder divided students into groups in order to keep the class as organized as possible. The groups include choreographers, dramaturges, costume designers, marketers and advertisers. They even have a wellness coordinator.
The Senior Showcase will include both seniors and underclassman. All but a couple of the senior dance majors are in the production. The class held auditions and opened them up to all students in the Meadows dance program. Every dancer who auditioned received a part in the Senior Showcase.
The class had to write grants to the dance department to receive additional funds for the production. The amount of money requested varied, but will help provide for costumes, lighting and props.
Moore said she is not sure how to execute her fruit-smashing vision in her contemporary dance piece, but she knows she will have to have some sort of covering on the stage so the fruit juices do not make it too slippery for the dancers.
“It’s fun to create the class, and be a part of shaping it for the younger students,” said Hess.
Two other dance shows will take place this spring in Meadows. The Spring Dance Concert and Meadows Dance Ensemble at the Winspear are different than the Senior Showcase because they are not student choreographed.