Student dancers showcase choreography for Dance Student Spotlight

Kansas State students perform an African-inspired dance at the Mark A. Chapman theatre in Manhattan, Kan. on Dec. 5 2017. (Photo by Brittany Reed | Collegian Media Group)

Kansas State student choreographers and dancers showcased their work Tuesday evening in the Mark A. Chapman Theatre for the Dance Student Spotlight.

The choreography was produced and performed by students in styles ranging from West African to modern improvisation, said Neil Dunn, instructor of dance.

Some of the dances were choreographed as part of a class or on students’ own free time. Students outside of the School of Music, Theatre and Dance were also able to participate.

“Many of our classes are full of non-majors who come in to get their fine arts credit,” Kate Digby, assistant professor of dance, said. “Then, of course, they fall in love with dancing and decide to get involved somehow.”

Digby’s Improvisational Structures class teaches students how to interact and play off of their partners, as well as how to quickly choreograph dances from prompts. During the showcase, students from this class quickly composed and performed dances based on random prompts and details. The guidelines included small movements by hands and feet, interruption to start a new course and collecting and gathering rhythm.

Students from Dunn’s Rhythmic Notation for Dance class also performed, as did individual dancers.

Elizabeth Hayes, junior in art with a minor in dance, showcased a solo to Paul Simon’s song “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover.”

“Dance Spotlight is all about spotlighting what dancers are learning in their classes or how they’re growing as dancers,” Hayes said.

The showcase also featured traditional West African styles of dance known as Kpatsa and Bima in which dancers wore traditional dashikis, or colorful pullover shirts, with accompaniment by drummers to create a lively performance.