GV dance students present senior capstones in spring concert

GVL/Katherine Vasile, 4/13/19, Haas Center for Performing Arts - Louis Armstrong Theatre, Spring Dance Concert

GVL/Katherine Vasile, 4/13/19, Haas Center for Performing Arts – Louis Armstrong Theatre, Spring Dance Concert

Arie Nienhuis

Among Grand Valley State University’s various artistic programs, dance is a particularly demanding discipline. As students learn and grow as professional dancers at GVSU, they are required to practice rigorously, and there are few better events to see this hard work in action than the annual Spring Dance Concerts.

Held on April 13, the Spring Dance Concert featured a broad, diverse display of choreography from students, professors and guests, all performed by talented and dedicated dance students. Two of the pieces of the evening were senior capstone works from dance students Allison Egrin and Domonique Chambers. Both Egrin and Chambers are immensely proud of their capstone pieces, which they have put countless hours of work into.

“My group piece is called ‘Bipolar Brainstorm,’ and it is about the brain going through a number of manic episodes,” Egrin said. “My brother is bipolar, so I did a lot of research and interviewed him and incorporated all that knowledge into the show.”

Egrin’s intense piece featured a wide range of movement, music and color, leaving an intense, emotional feeling in the air. Chambers’ group piece, “Fugue,” was similarly intense, also featuring mental health themes and a broad range of style and action.

“My piece, specifically, is about my evolution as a dancer and person,” Chambers said. “I used a lot of different tools, such as the Enneagram personality test. I had each of my cast members take the test and make an eight-second phrase, learned all those phrases and translated them into the first section of the piece. In this way, it is reflective of who they are as human beings.”

Both Egrin and Chambers felt that GVSU was a crucial aspect of their growth as both dancers and people. Egrin, in particular, expressed gratitude in how she has been able to appreciate dance on a much deeper level due to her education. 

“(GVSU) has definitely given me a greater appreciation for dance,” Egrin said. “Now that I have more knowledge on dance history and choreography, I can take more out of seeing professional companies perform. I also think that the department is empathetic and socially aware, and has helped me mature hugely as a person.”

Other featured performances of the evening included group pieces from guest choreographers Brian Enos and Helanius J. Wilkins, performed by dance students of all class standings. Inspirations from various eras of dance combined with music ranging from Bach to Philip Glass to make for an intensely moving and impressive evening of dance. For those interested in getting involved with the dance program, Chambers shared some advice.

“If dance is something you love, do not stop,” Chambers said. “Grand Valley has so many opportunities for dancers, there are so many student organizations and you can either major or minor in dance. You can dance as much as you want or as little as you want, it’s incredibly flexible. Just don’t stop.”