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Department of Dance pushes students to be independent in upcoming concert

Fifteen students from the Department of Dance will step into the spotlight in its annual Winter Concert, showcasing their own choreography independent from faculty in the department for the first time.  

“This is completely student run,” said Damian Bowerman, external relations coordinator for the Department of Dance. “They do everything. They do the lighting design, they work on building costumes [and] they have stage managers for each piece.”

Katherine Moore, a second-year graduate student in dance, said she believes the independence from faculty and staff is what makes the event so exciting.

“I love going to student concerts, you never know what you’re going to get,” she said. “It’s just fun to see what everyone’s working on [and] to see all the creative energy and moving bodies come together.”

Moore has been working on her piece for the show since the beginning of Autumn Semester, and has spent an estimated 25 hours on the piece in total.

Students rehearse “Of Otherness,” which will be performed at the annual Winter Concert. Courtesy of Nikki Ewen.

That’s not been the case for April Biggs, whose 20-minute final master of fine arts project will be featured in the concert. Biggs said she has worked on her piece, “Of Otherness,” for around 20 hours a week since starting her project last semester.

“The piece is about ‘otherness,’ it’s about being outside of the margins of what’s considered normative in our culture,” Biggs said.

Biggs said she wanted to incorporate dancers into her piece who represent the “otherness” she was trying to convey, regardless of what that defining characteristic might be. Throughout the piece, dancers deal with topics of race, gender, sexuality and disability.

Due to the overarching theme of the dance, Biggs said she and the four dancers involved in her piece had to go “above and beyond the call of duty” in order to convey the message she wanted to get across to the audience.

“It’s been a lot of time and work and energy … It was a very big undertaking, for me and the dancers, because it became this thing where we thought, ‘if we really want to do this well, we have to put a lot of time into it,’” Biggs said.

Bowerman said he expects the concert to have a full house each night.

“There’s a huge dance audience in Columbus,” he said. “It’s pretty exciting to see the department contribute to that.”

The annual concert will take place Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m. in the Barnett Theater, located in Sullivant Hall. There also will be a 3 p.m. show Saturday. Tickets are $10 for faculty, staff and students and $15 for the general public, and can be purchased online at https://theatre.osu.edu/boxoffice/dance-tix.

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