DSU dance department brings communities together through performance

Dixie State University’s dance department put on its spring concert with a total of 10 dancers who are dance majors or minors. The concert involved audience interaction, aerial silks and a variety of movements from the dancers. Sydney Johnson | Sun News Daily

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Art is expressed in anyway that feels right to you, and the dance department at Dixie State University embodies this everyday.

DSU dance majors spend each day of the week expressing themselves in class through movement and connection. The connection they experience while dancing goes beyond the movement with the music. The students involved in the dance classes have connections with their peers and professors as well.

Taylor Taft, a dance major from Herriman, said: “I get to dance with people who have the same passions as me and we all validate each other and see each others potential which is something that is important to me. I also feel very noticed in my major I am very close with my professors and the students and I have built a lot of connections that way.”

The professors and students involved with dance at DSU strive for an inclusive, accepting environment for all. This is evident in their concert, Dance in Concert: A Community Dance Experience as they interact with each other and the audience throughout the performance. This unique dance performance allowed the dance department to show how important it is to be unique and proud of your own community.

Jennifer Weber, assistant professor of dance, said: “Everybody comes from different walks of life and it makes a very rich dance environment which I enjoy getting to interact with them, getting to learn who they are, what makes them spark, and then we work together to bring those sparks alive like in this concert.”

Dance in Concert: A Community Dance Experience was performed by 10 dancers of various years in school at DSU. This concert not only showcased the dance potential at DSU, but it also resembled the care the dance department has for communities. Since it’s a concert with so much audience involvement, the dancers had to step outside of their comfort zones to get the audience moving.

Weber said: “My hope with the concert is that the audience realizes how powerful and transformative dance is. There are lots of opportunities for the audience to engage with it in the ways that are meaningful to them. I think the arts carry a lot of importance in our culture, and I hope the audience experiences that, and sees that, as well as very beautiful dancing and production elements.”

A couple of aspects of the concert included aerial silk dancing, speaking with the audience, a tour of the stage given by the dancers, and a dance party with the audience after the concert. Weber said all of these parts make up a unique performance the audience has most likely never experienced.

Ashly Barraclough, a senior dance major from Ivins, said her favorite part of the dance concert is the aerial silk dance. She said it has been a fun process getting to work with two other aerialists. It was her first time getting to do aerial silks, so it was special for her.

Sara Gallo, associate professor of dance, said: “We have been working on this for the entire academic year. We started back in the fall, and we were really interested in how we could bring not only our dance community but our DSU community into art making, and how we can continue that into the actual performance.”

Gallo, Barraclough, Taft and Weber each said they wanted this concert to give the audience an experience of a dance performance they have never seen before. The goal was to interact with the audience and share what they love doing, and that is art in the form of dance.