Each semester WSU students can look forward to three things: registration, finals week and the Orchesis Dance Concert. This semester’s performance will be held Nov. 20 through 22 at the Allred Theater. The show starts at 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 20, and 7:30 p.m. on the 21 and 22. Admission ranges from $10-$25 per person.
For over 30 years, the WSU Orchesis dance company has been testing the limits of modern dance. WSU Senior Madison Jones said, “Modern dance is more based on the arts and kind of the storytelling of dance. The movement is just more free.”
As Jones and her fellow dancers geared up for their latest performance, they discussed the process of modern dance. “There’s usually a deep meaning behind the movement and what’s happening on stage,” Jones said.
Modern dance performances like Orchesis are often unique and filled with meaning. WSU dance student, Emma DeMeyer said, “(Modern dance) came out of the rebellion of ballet. So it’s kind of everything that opposed the rules of ballet. Like we’re barefoot instead of wearing shoes. There’s not the alignment that there is in ballet, you’re much more free in the torso.”
During the Orchesis fall performance, modern dance students will be given the opportunity to display their talent. Jones is among a handful of student choreographers who will showcase an original work during the performance.
“There are student works that are in the concert,” Jones said. “They’re all senior students who are doing either their practicum or their thesis, which is a requirement to graduate in the department with a dance or dance education degree.”
Dance majors who have met the requirements of the department are able to create original dance works. Students hold auditions and select dancers to perform in their work.
Jones’ original work, “Elect,” is about her testimony as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Jones said, “We are able to have our own ideas and put them on bodies and create a whole work. We come up with the costumes and the lighting and the music and create our own dance piece on our own.”
The Orchesis Dance performance will also showcase the WSU Outreach Program and the Weber State Moving Company. Choreographed by veteran WSU dance instructor, Erik Stern, the Moving Company’s work utilizes elements of physics, mathematics and dance. DeMeyer is one of the performers in the Moving Company work.
“This year’s focus is kind of on the physics side,” DeMeyer said. “It came together with this research of the dancers all working together and discovering how we interact with paper and how paper interacts with gravity and all these different things. There are also some different experiments in the piece with a leaf blower and a beach ball and just some different hints where you get to see physics with dance and how they correlate.”
DeMeyer says Orchesis is a different kind of dance performance.
“Different people may not be interested in dance but all of the sudden if there is physics in it or experimentation they’re interested in it,” DeMeyer said.