The Weber State University Dance Department will showcase its production of Spring Orchesis April 10-12. The modern dance production will feature choreography by both students and guest professionals. Genres will range from ballet to jazz.
“(Orchesis is) the dance department’s biannual show,” said Jordan White, a dance performance and choreography major at WSU and performer in Orchesis. “It’s a showcase of student and professional work.”
According to White, ‘orchesis’ is a Greek word which means ‘to dance’.
While Orchesis is the dance department’s two main concerts, the program also focuses heavily on engaging in community projects and charity work.
Professor Eric Stern’s dance technique classes do an annual end-of-school-year activity. This semester, their chosen activity is to volunteer at Your Community Connection, a family crisis center. They will be “sanitizing the day care center and organizing many of the goods they have received as donations,” said Amanda Sowerby, a dance professor at WSU and co-director of Orchesis with Joanne L. Lawrence.
A lot of the work the dance department does involves education and local schools. A large focus for Orchesis is the Green Map Project, which works mainly with elementary-aged children and promotes healthy environmental practices.
“(We) tell the students about the importance of conservation,” White said.
Another project, one that works with students in kindergarten through 12th grade, is the Moving Company. The Moving Company’s goal is to incorporate creativity and dance into the school setting by having dancers teach classes and perform for various local schools. The Moving Company works to “organize lesson plans and working with teachers in finding curriculum that is good for both the students and for teaching our theme,” White said.
In the summer, a small group of dancers will head to Mozambique with students from the women’s and gender studies and geography programs. The initiative is known as the MOZWOC Project and is a collaboration between WSU and No Poor Among Us. The group’s mission on this trip is to “complete the construction of a women’s center that will provide education and support to the women of Mozambique,” as stated on the MOZWOC Indiegogo page. The dance program is planning to participate in a cultural exchange by learning some of the local dances and teaching the people some Western dance styles.
The April 10 performance of Orchesis will begin at 5:30 p.m. and will serve as a fundraiser for scholarships for the next year. Tickets are priced at $25 for those wishing to donate, but regular-priced tickets are $12 for adults and $9 for students and seniors. The Friday and Saturday performances will begin at 7:30 p.m., and tickets will cost $9-$12. Orchesis will be performed in the Browning Center’s Allred Theater.