NSU senior dance students to premiere original works in May 1 concert


NATCHITOCHES – Northwestern State University Theatre and Dance will present the annual Senior Dance Concert on Saturday, May 1 at 7 p.m. in the A.A. Fredericks Auditorium. The show is titled “Fundamentals.”

Attendance is limited to 160. For ticket information or to make reservations, call (318) 357-4483. A livestream will be available at capa.nsula.edu/livestream.

The advisor for the class is Kirstin Riehl. Stage Manager for the show is Caitlin Foster.

“Fundamentals” will feature original works choreographed by graduating seniors Emily Ricalde of New Orleans, Ashley Henry of Slidell, Tara Lane of Little Rock, Arkansas, Alexz Hattier of Slidell, Alphone Shine of DeRidder, Maci Burt of Mandeville and Vilma Castro of San Pedro Sula, Honduras,

Ricalde’s work is “@The Museum.” Liam Gardner is the lighting director. The cast is Sarah Talbot of Baton Rouge, Abigail Miller of Slidell, Mary Strickland of Metairie, John Jefferson of Shreveport, Grant Broussard of Abbeville, Adele Hebert of Lafayette and Julia Lynch of St. Amant.

Henry’s “Intertwined Thoughts” is a personal reflection of how people tend to visualize who Henry is as a person. Jaedyn Maxwell of Baton Rouge is the lighting designer. The cast is Sarah Grace Duplessis of Baton Rouge, Jefferson, Ashanta Wilson of Leesville, Peyton Harville of Bossier City, D’Sherrick Williams of Marshall, Texas, Chelsie Stephens of New Orleans and Strickland.

“At first glance, I’m seen as a shy, introverted person, ‘a person who is still in her shell,’” or someone who has everything going perfectly fine in my life,” said Henry. “Having a constant reach for perfection has led me to my own mental demise. Instead of looking at the positive experiences in life’s affirmations, I reminisce negative circumstances, creating a never-ending cycle of heartaches, low esteem and anxiety and loneliness. This piece will show the internal battles of escaping from the vivid thoughts, within the intentions of finding hope, and my own happiness, even if it’s momentarily. Being able to capture traits and creating movement, as well as incorporating the use of an unpredictable prop has been quite challenging for me mentally, and for my cast, physically.”

Lane’s work, “Fading Strings” is inspired by cello strings. Roshane Brown is the lighting designer. The cast is Hannah Knoff of Baton Rouge, Alyson Brown of Jennings, Erin Fallis of Pineville and Carleigh Murphy of Meadville, Pennsylvania.

“Each dancer represents a different string on the cello,” said Lane “Their movement is a mix of classical and contemporary all based on the way strings move and the sound that they make. Each dancer or string has their moment of being played intermingled with them coming together to play as one as a full cello. My work was inspired by a loved one that plays a stringed instrument and the lovely music that these instruments play. With that I wanted to focus on the beauty of the dancer and the moments they make with the music.”

Hattier’s piece is “Unique but One” and is about being unique as a dancer but being one with the group. Gardner is the lighting designer. The cast is Talbot and Mary Scott Pourciau of Baton Rouge, Miller and Haleigh Giorlando-Wall of New Orleans.

“As dancers we create our own style that makes us stand out however when we dance together, we have to be one,” said Hattier. “The solos in my piece are highlighting what makes those dancers unique and stand out from one another. The moments that they are dancing together is when they realize it is OK to be different when dancing in a group as long as we are in sync. Growing up as a dancer I struggled to embrace being different however as I grew more comfortable with my own style I realized that being different is acceptable.”

Shine’s piece, “Once Upon a Moment in Life” is a story book approach on a few everyday experiences that humans go through. The lighting designer is Abi Reeves. The cast is Luther Brooks IV of Lafayette, Fallis, Robert McCandish of Monroe, Murphy, Knoff, Stephens and JirNeicia Ward of Bossier City.

“I want the audience to essentially insert themselves into the story while the dancers dance. There’s four different sections and they each encapsulate different emotions and moods: some including having fun with friends and being super sassy, while another jumps on the love train, being very cutesy and fun. There’s many different moods and songs to enjoy while enjoying a look into a few characters that my dancers and I had a fun time creating.”

Shine said at the end the cast comes together to do one last dance.

“They portray the fact that although someone is bored over here, another may be having a grande time in another place, but it’s all happening simultaneously, because, well that’s just life,” said Shine. “I really wanted to challenge myself to tackle multiple moods within one piece, and with the support of my friends, I definitely feel like I’ve created something that I can truly be proud of.”

Burt’s work, “fp movimento” attempts to capture what goes on inside the mind of someone with bipolar disorder. Roshane Brown is the lighting director. The cast is Giorlando-Wall, Williams, Pourciau, Kerrie Spillman of Natchitoches, Cullen Barrilleaux of Belle Chasse and Sara Grace of Baton Rouge.

“The first section represents a manic and louder section of movement,” said Burt. “The second part of the piece represents a softer and more depressed state of mind. The movement itself is loud and soft which is why the piece is called ‘fp movement.’”

Castro’s work is called “Frailty.” Jebreanne Morgan is lighting designer. The cast is Barrilleaux as a living soul, Wilson as the spirit of life, Lynch as the shadow of death, Brown, MeKayla Jenkins of Jennings, Maria Paula Mancera-Romero of Cartagena, Colombia, Ashlyn Pettiss of Dutchtown and Broussard as souls.

“The story of the choreography would be based on the story behind the music,” said Castro. “It is a piece recreated in the ancient superstition of the dance of death in the late 1800s. The main idea is to capture in the piece the life cycle that a human being has, which despite the fact his efforts to continue living at some points arrives his moment to face death and becomes part of the dead crew. I want to highlight a pas de trois between life, death and human.”

Castro recalls a quote from writer and journalist Victoria Finlay. “Human life is fragile: we live in the space between one breath and the next. We often try to maintain an illusion of permanence, through what we do, say… how we enjoy our… it is an illusion that is constantly being undermined by change and death.”