Dancers to present largest Alabama Repertory Dance Theatre ever

Dancers to present largest Alabama Repertory Dance Theatre ever

The backstage buzzes with movement and excitement. Dancers are stretching and running through their routines as others are fitted into costumes. On the other side of the curtain, the audience murmurs with anticipation. It is now only moments before Alabama Repertory Dance Theatre dancers will take the stage. 

From Tuesday, Feb. 20 to Saturday, Feb. 24, student dancers are set to perform the Alabama Repertory Dance Theatre Spring 2018 dance concert at Morgan Auditorium. Student tickets are $14 and general admission tickets are $20. Each piece is created through collaboration with the dance faculty and select students. Like its student-choreographed Dance Alabama!, ARDT is presented each semester. 

One of these students has been a part of ARDT for three years and has worked with Cornelius Carter, ARDT artistic director and director of the dance program.

“Carter held us to such a high standard in rehearsals and made sure that no one gave anything less than 110 percent,” said Margaret McCown, a junior musical theatre and dance major. “Carter is one of the most hilarious and enjoyable people to be around, and this made the rehearsal process a really pleasant experience.”

In the past two ARDT concerts, McCown performed ballet pieces. This year, McCown is involved in a contemporary jazz piece titled “Same Day Stand By.” The piece is a dance about the difficulties in a romantic relationship.

“As you watch the piece you will notice how each couple looks different,” McCown said. “We were all given the freedom to create our own interpretation of a love lost, so the piece creates a really realistic dynamic between the dancers.”

Tanner Fant, a junior musical theatre major, has also performed with ARDT since her freshman year and hasn’t missed a single performance. Fant is in three pieces for the Spring 2018 concert. 

“Lean In” is a piece with 10 women choreographed by Lawrence Jackson, during which the dancers created their own phrasing from Jackson’s provided vocabulary. Fant's second piece is a character ballet created by Qiaping Guo that is lighthearted and humorous, which Fant said is something that dancers do not often get to explore. The third piece Fant is involved in is student Alexia Acebo’s piece that incorporates live music and dancer-directed sounds. 

“Something that I believe is special to ARDT's rehearsal process is that encouragement to feed off other dancers,” Fant said. “Of course the end goal is to perform these incredible pieces on stage, but I get more out of the rehearsal process by taking in the dancers around me and the more you observe the greatness around you, the more you learn and grow, and ARDT is the epitome of that.”

Working with these dancers as stage manager is Jacob Rowe, a junior musical theatre major. This is Rowe’s sixth semester working with ARDT.

Rowe’s job starts months before the show by talking with the choreographers and getting an idea of what their pieces will consist of, the number of dancers, length of the pieces and costumes. They then meet as a group and share ideas on costumes and the order of the show, Rowe said. Rowe is also in charge of scheduling one to two fittings for all the dancers within a month. 

“Once we get to tech week, I have over 100 people that I am overseeing and making sure everyone’s doing what they are supposed to do,” Rowe said. “My role as stage manager is to make sure everything runs as as smooth as it possibly can.” 

This is the largest ARDT concert ever with 94 dancers all performing a wide variety of dances and styles. 

“My hope is that people leave the show feeling inspired,” McCown said. “Even if it is only in one piece, I hope they feel something deeply in a way they have never thought about.”

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