Dance department produces spring show

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Faith Miller

The Florida Southern College department of Theatre and Dance has announced its plans for its annual spring showcase for the 2021 season.

The title for this year’s performance is “(Re) Construct,” and much like the fall dance performance, it will feature portions from last year’s spring show, which never made it to the stage due to the COVID-19 lockdown. 

One of the highlights of this year’s show is the ballet, which will feature the second act of the ballet “Giselle,” along with guest choreography from Fredi De Jesus of the FrediDANCE project, based out of New York.

Allison Baber, who is an Adjunct Dance Professor at FSC, is overseeing the ballet portion of the show.

“We were set to perform it last spring, but didn’t get to before the lockdown. So it will be exciting to see it come to the stage finally,”  Baber said.

This portion of “Giselle” was originally scheduled for last year’s performance. Keeping that in mind, Baber has tried her best to keep the original choreography, while still adhering to COVID-19 policies.

“We cut the cast down and made two casts that will each have a performance,” Baber said. “This was to be able to have covers for each dancer as well as have more spread out spacing on stage.” 

She explained some of the adjustments that have been made throughout the performance and ballet itself.

“The ballet’s story is about the love of the two main characters, Giselle and Albrecht,” Baber said. “They dance a Pas de deux, this is where we had to make some adjustments. Making sure the dancers felt comfortable with the partnering and contact they have as well as balancing the story. The dancers will of course be dancing in masks for the performance.”

Freshman Eliza Leaver is performing the role of “Myrtha,” who is the queen of the Wilis in the second act of “Giselle.” She has been dancing for 14 years and was originally inspired by her sister. 

“My sister started dancing before me and she has been my role model for almost everything,” Leaver said. “But I really just fell in love with performing and haven’t looked back since.” 

When she received the role of Myrtha, Leaver was in shock.

“I cried. I knew that Myrtha would be such an amazing role and actually getting to perform it as a freshman is a dream come true,” Leaver said.

All dance majors were required to audition for the performances. Leaver explained that she had auditioned for the ballet portion of “Giselle” last semester. The process involved the dancers being split into a couple groups and learning their choreography before the audition. After the first audition, some of the dancers received callbacks for soloist roles. The process was very similar for modern pieces. 

Leaver is most excited to share what the students of FSC have been working on with their friends and families. 

“This show has it all, from a heartbreaking ballet about ghost brides who make men dance till their death, to choreography from guest choreographers and residents here at FSC,” Leaver said. “We can’t wait to share our talents and passion with you!” 

In regards to COVID-19 policies, the dance studios are sanitized after every class and rehearsal, along with students constantly sanitizing or washing their hands. The performance has also eliminated partnering so that dancers can be more spread out. 

“COVID has been a challenge for everybody, but I am so proud of our dance department for staying safe and doing what we need to do so we can continue to do what we love most,” Leaver said.

The performance will be available to view on the “ Festival of Fine Arts” YouTube, with two live streams being available. The first is on May 1 at 7:30 p.m. and the second on May 2 at 2:30 p.m. 

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