Student choreographers host thesis performance

Lifestyle Reporter

The friends and family of five Texas State students received powerful messages through dance at the BFA Senior Thesis Concert.

The Division of Dance in the Department of Theatre and Dance hosted the concert in Evans Auditorium on April 10 at 7:30 p.m. The program consisted of dances choreographed by soon-to-be graduates.

Students Olivia Barto (senior), Eileene Vicencio (senior), Desiree Kostelnik (junior), Rachael Hodge (senior) and Kristin Denson (senior) choreographed the concert. The students will receive their degrees in performance and choreography.

Stephanie Corley, stage manager and theater senior, said a cycle of messages and feelings were emitted through the choreography during the performance.

“Almost all of (the dances) were made specifically to make the audience react or rethink,” Corley said.

Corley said the performance included dances that advocated feminism, encouraged the audience to live their lives, commemorated those who die while crossing the border or evoked emotion.

“It’s like what the choreographer wants to have known,” Corley said. “‘This is what’s important to me; this is what message I have for you,’ all told through dance. It’s amazing.”

Corley said she thought the production was put together well.

“The best way to describe the dances, both separately and as a whole production, is ‘dynamic,’” Corley said. “Each piece is so powerful in its own way, but they all came together so beautifully too.”

Denson, choreographer and performer, said dance is intended to evoke emotion as well as provide entertainment.

“As choreographers, and also as dancers, it is almost our job to use our art to persuade, evoke emotions and make the audience feel something rather than create dances the audience just looks at for nice dancing and pretty smiles,” Denson said.

The performance was gratifying considering the dedication and effort put forward by fellow choreographers and dancers, Denson said.

“I started looking for dancers actually during the summer, started choreography around Christmas break and finished only a few weeks ago,” Denson said. “It was definitely a long process getting this show together, but the end result is so rewarding, and I couldn’t be more proud of my dancers.”

Denson said overcoming unexpected challenges made the performance more rewarding for choreographers and audience members.

“It’s also so rewarding because things really never go as planned in the dance world,” Denson said. “Things break and costumes collapse, but to work around those things and still develop something to be proud of, even with all the curve balls, is a great feeling.”

Denson said some viewers enjoy dance, but those who are unfamiliar can come to learn about the art.  

“Typically the fellow dancers that come to watch our shows love it, but non-dancers tend to have different viewpoints,” Denson said. “Some still like it, but for others it’s not their thing, and that’s okay. But I think it’s important to broaden your experiences and not keep yourself in a box of norms.”

Christel Rudd, dance freshman and audience member, said she recommends the performances to audience members who want to expand their interests and learn about fine arts.

“This was my first time attending a Texas State dance performance, but I would highly recommend things like this because it provides new and interesting dance styles,” Rudd said. “Especially for those interested in pursuing dance, it’s nice to develop what styles you’re familiar with.”

Rudd was refreshed by seeing something new even though she was not familiar with the style of dance. She said the production flowed well.

“It was really well put together and organized with genius choreography,” Rudd said. “Even though their dance style isn’t what I’m used to, the choreography made me want to try that kind of dancing.”

Corley said she believes in the power of dancing as an art and views it as more than just physical movement.

“I believe dance is so much more than it appears to be,” Corley said. “I think it contributes to society, sends out important messages or protests and generates amazing art. Dance is definitely underrated, and anyone who hasn’t experienced it is truly missing out.”