BYU DancEnsemble highlights student choreography for semi-annual performance

Natalie Bothwell
BYU DancEnsemble members perform onstage on March 9, 2016. DancEnsemble’s Fall 2018 concerts will take place at the Dance Studio Theatre at the Richards Building on Nov. 9 and 10. (Natalie Bothwell)

BYU DancEnsemble Artistic Director Kate Monson said watching students artistically struggle and “find new ways to express” themselves is her favorite part of the annual dance performance.

DancEnsemble will host a performance highlighting various student and faculty choreography on Nov. 9 and 10 at the dance studio theatre in the Richards Building.

As a contemporary modern dance company, DancEnsemble focuses on showcasing the creative process of students’ works.

Monson plans to title the annual fall semester performance as “DancEnsemble Classic” to allow selected student choreographies to be showcased.

“This means the concert itself can lend itself to a wide variety of texture and point of view,” she said.

This year, DancEnsemble asked assistant contemporary dance professor Keely Song Glenn to be a guest choreographer.

Glenn explained the process of receiving inspiration from her own life experiences, which helped form the backbone of her piece, “Three Degrees of Vulnerability.”

Glenn recently had a major ACL surgery. Through her body’s healing process, she recognized her body was now different, but she learned to accept it.

“We often think of vulnerability as a weakness, but it’s also an opportunity to look for inward strength,” she said. “I wanted to explore vulnerability, how frail we can be, but how we can find strength in that.”

According to Monson, DancEnsemble takes pride in the process of improvising, creating and performing pieces never shown or created before.

“Most of the dance pieces we showcase are created on the spot and given to the dancers to learn,” said Pamela Mecham, a dance major and member of DancEnsemble.

Mecham is also one of the student choreographers who will have the chance to showcase her work at the performance.

“I wanted the audience members to be impacted by the performance. The dancers will actually walk down the stairs and dance with the audience members in the aisles,” she said.

Monson looks forward to the future of DancEnsemble as they make plans to collaborate with other artists for Winter 2019 semester, including Joe Ostraff, a professor in the visual arts and art education department.

“I’m incredibly lucky to be able to come back to BYU as the director of a company that meant so much to me and to see it assist in developing a new generation of dance artists,” she said.

DancEnsemble will perform their concert on Nov. 9 to 10 and will start at 7:30 p.m. with a matinee at 2 p.m. on Nov. 10. Tickets can be purchased in the Harris Fine Arts Center.

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