K-State students infuse ‘Wizard of Oz’ into Spring Dance

Students with the Kansas State University School of Music, Theatre and Dance perform during the 2017 Spring Dance at McCain Auditorium on March 31, 2017. The recital showcased many styles, including jazz, tap, modern, ballet and African dance. (Justin Wright | The Collegian)

With performances from genres including jazz, hip-hop, modern ballet, tap and African, the Kansas State dance program held its annual Spring Dance Friday and Saturday evenings in McCain Auditorium.

After performers were cast in December, students with backgrounds in various dance styles worked closely with faculty to produce performances within a 10-week span.

Hannah Yeoman, senior in fisheries and wildlife conservation, said she had only done African dancing a few times in her 17 years of experience before this performance.

“This is the first time I have ever gotten to sing and chant with it, and it was really fun, since this dance was so different for me,” Yeoman said.

Keeping to a “The Wizard of Oz” theme, performers danced to songs including “Twister,” “Munchkins,” “Courage, Heart, Brains, Home” and “A Mysterious Forest” during the first act. Following intermission, the second act consisted of “Jitter Bugs,” “Fume Fume,” “Emerald” and “There’s No Place Like Home.”

During the songs “Munchkins” and “There’s No Place Like Home,” students danced alongside children performers to showcase modern dance and hip-hop styles. The remaining six performances focused on the students as they danced to routines choreographed by faculty.

One of the main performances of the evening was the dance “Fume Fume” — an African-inspired dance that combined 13 dancers with 11 musicians. The musicians played traditional African instruments, including an “abates” rattle, “kpanlogo” drums and the “gankogui,” an African bell.

Both performances ended with “There Is No Place Like Home,” which was choreographed by guest artist Dena Rizzo. This hip-hop compilation ranged from artists Kanye West and Will.i.am to Gwen Stefani and Mick Jagger.

Erin Manville, freshman in food sciences, said she saw all the characters from the “The Wizard of Oz” combine in the finale.

“I could see each character and their personalities that they brought to the routine, so that was nice to see it wrap up the ‘The Wizard of Oz,'” Manville said. “I liked the diversity in the performance overall.”

Even though it has only been a few days since practice, choreography and Saturday’s show ended, the K-State Dance program is already planning next year’s show, said Julie Pentz, associate director of dance. Pentz said that next year’s show, in addition to other shows throughout the school year, will incorporate different themes.

“I would encourage students to reach out to me or other faculty in the dance program and see all the opportunities we have,” Pentz said. “Come and be a part of the K-State Dance program because we have something for everyone.”

I'm Monica Diaz and I graduated in May 2020 with a degree in broadcast journalism and Spanish. I severed in several roles while working for the Collegian, but most of my work focused on rebuilding the Collegian digital brand with an increased social media presence. I also worked on KKSU-TV and appeared as an anchor on MHK All Day in my last semester on campus. In my spare time, I enjoy a good cup of coffee and spending time with family. I have a passion for journalism because I believe that everyone deserves to have their voice heard.