The students of the Maggie Allesee Department of Theatre and Dance will showcase all that they have learned in the annual winter dance showcase on Dec. 9 and 10 at the Music Hall Center.
Dance professor and artistic director of the winter concert Jeff Rebudal helped curate the show this year with fellow professor Meg Paul. Rebudal said giving the students an opportunity to perform is at the root of the concert.
“Every show transforms each dancer while taking this particular great experience onto the next,” Rebudal said. “These key performance opportunities afford the dancer to mature into a fine artist and contributing citizen for our university’s cultural community and Detroit.”
For senior dance major Bailey Allshouse, submitting a piece he choreographed into the December dance concert was a natural maturing of his own relationship to dance. After submitting his own piece he worked on over the previous year, it was chosen.
“I didn’t make this piece for the December dance concert, but I did ask my cast if that was something they were interested in and they said they wanted to perform it,” Allshouse said.
Allshouse’s piece “CHILDHOOD” is one of ten performances that make up the show, which includes four student works, performances by guest artists and multiple pieces from faculty performed by dance students.
Allshouse said he began the process of crafting the piece over the summer as a personal journey and exploration of dance.
“I knew that I wanted to choreograph something over the summer and I asked some of my closer friends and people that I liked moving with if they wanted to be a part of it,” Allshouse said.
His group started off with four people and he used the opportunity play with different styles and movements. After a set of two injuries within the group, Allhouse started to explore how to incorporate his group’s range of movement.
“A major part of how the piece was formed involved working around these two dancers’ injuries and deciding how can I still incorporate them and the movement ideas that I had,” said Allhouse.
While a major goal is to get on stage for a lot of students, Allshouse still prefers the time in the studio.
“The goals for a lot of BFA students is to perform as much as possible and a lot of people don’t really have an interest in choreography,” said Allshouse. “I really enjoy the process and rehearsing a lot more than performing.”
While Allshouse took the winter dance concert as a way to show off his own work in choreography, sophomore dance major Lena Shuptar said she took a risk by applying to be a dancer and choreographer in the department’s own dance workshop.
By the end of the auditions period, she was offered the opportunity to be a choreographer and her own piece ended up in the December concert alongside the three other seasoned students.
“I did it just for kicks, like ‘I’d been teaching a lot this summer and I have a lot of material—I’ll just submit it.’ I wasn’t expecting to get it at all…usually choreographers are juniors and seniors,” Shuptar said.
Shuptar’s piece, “Worden,” is the Dutch translation of “to become.” She said it is heavily inspired by people, their thoughts about transformation and her own personal journey over the past year.
“It really explores the idea of people traveling from point A to point B, and whatever that may mean to them and their lives,” Shuptar said.
Shuptar calls the piece a culmination of the last six months of her life and hopes that the audience will walk away from it with a sense of hope during dark times.
“It’s a very intense piece, at least in the beginning,” she said. “I want to take [the audience] on a little journey of what it feels like to be in a very intense situation and all of a sudden feel relief and liberation from that.”
Allshouse said a lot of his experience with choreography came out of learning and growing from the tight-knit group of dancers in the department. This collective spirit is something he hopes is clearly visible and lasting after each performance in the winter concert.
“With dance, it’s inevitable not to see [that connection] on stage because the dance program at Wayne State is very small,” said Allshouse. “I’ve been with the same people for four years and I think with this major, it’s very hard not to see this sense of community.”
Purchase tickets for the winter dance concert at the Music Hall Center on Dec. 9 and 10 here.