On Dec. 12 and 19, Orchesis Dance Theatre presented the second part of their Dancing in the Stream performances online. All of the performances were filmed during the weekend of Nov. 12.
“Her Abandoned Tree,” “Shaped,” “The Sifting,” “On the Line” and “Understanding Solitude” were all created and choreographed by students. The second-to-last piece of the performances, “The Chaotic Ritual of Silence,” was choreographed by Assistant Professor Jo Blake.
Ashley Beckwith’s piece, “On the Line,” introduced her to a new world of creative ways to tell her story.
“I was very overwhelmed with the endless possibilities of what I could do for my piece,” Beckwith said. “Once I was set on what I wanted the theme and message to be, I found myself soaring away and finding creative ways to tell my story.”
This was Beckwith’s first semester choreographing an entire piece. She expected the choreography process to be more tense and scary than it actually was.
“Throughout the semester, I saw my piece growing, changing and maturing into something I was extremely proud of,” Beckwith said. “It was an amazing and teachable experience.”
Jessica Haro’s piece, “Her Abandoned Tree” allowed her to come to terms with who she is and connect with her ancestors.
“I am a person of color, even if I don’t look like it. Living in Utah always made me feel like I had to blend in,” Haro said. “I am white passing, so I don’t experience the same disadvantages my family does and I had to accept that.”
Haro danced in her piece representing herself and her mother. Throughout the piece, the two never seem to be able to connect in the right way.
“My piece represents a sense of longing, hope and a sense of celebration all at the same time,” Haro said. “This piece feels like an extension of myself. Being a creator and conducting my own research was extremely freeing.”
Gabriela Gray’s piece, “Shaped,” was about exploration and discovery with improvisation throughout the performance.
Blocks were used throughout the piece to represent different sections of the dance. For Gray, the blocks represented the theme of exploration. She also played with the emotions of vulnerability, fear and curiosity.
Gray says her piece decided what it wanted to be and everything else happened organically. One of the lessons she said she would take away from this experience is learning to be flexible.
“No piece of art is going to be perfect in the eyes of the artist—at least, not for me,” Gray said. “I’ve learned I can still be happy and satisfied with my art despite lack of perfection.”
Dancing in the Stream is available to watch on Weber State’s Performing Arts website.