The cast of "Em/Bodied," this year's spring dance performance, pose. Photo courtesy of Shannon Smyth.

Jessica Stalter
Staff Writer

The Florida Southern Dance Department held their annual spring performance from March 25-27. This year the title of the performance was “Em/Bodied,” focusing on the conceptualization, embodiment, and expression of various topics and emotions.

“I believe shows like these are important to showcase and make accessible both classical ballet and other forms of dance such as modern, jazz, etc.” dancer Katherine Adkinson said. “I really loved this semester’s concert because we did have such a wide variety of pieces.”

The show included excerpts from the ballet Raymonda and three independent pieces: “Chaos”, “…So that’s what she became”, and “Roads Remember.”

The first act, consisting of Raymonda, included a sampling of different pieces of the ballet, featuring groups, duets, trios and solos. Many dancers were included in the corps de ballet, which is the larger group of dancers who perform together.

“This was actually my first real faculty concert in person here at FSC and my first ballet ever,”  Adkinson said. “It was amazing to get to dance with all of my amazing friends and work together on bringing this amazing show to the stage… My favorite part of the show was probably when we finally got to do the ballet in costume and makeup and everything and it all looked so magical.”

The solos, duets, and trios, performed largely on point, were performed by a smaller group of dancers. Kinsey Vaughen was cast as the soloist lead.

“I had the best experience in this show,” Vaughen said. “Everyone was so supportive and positive. We all had a great time… I was not very confident in ballet before this show, but the choreographer and my fellow classmates helped me so much. I grew a lot and I did something I never thought I could do!”

The second half of the show included pieces choreographed by guests and faculty. The first piece, Chaos, was performed by a small group of dancers.

“Chaos which was set on us by Ashley Hearn and was originally performed by RAKR Dance,” dancer Abigail Torres said. “It is roughly a five minute excerpt from a bigger production they did. It is composed of snippets of dialogue from a news piece as well as the song I Zimbra by the Talking Heads. It’s about feeling overwhelmed by everything around us, mainly technology, and needing to unplug from it. The spoken word section mentions needing to disconnect repeatedly and at the end how we need to ‘retrieve our souls.’”

The next piece, “…So that’s what she became,” featured three dancers and a superhero aesthetic in the lighting, costumes, and choreography itself.

“…So that’s what she became is an original piece choreographed by our director Erin LaSala-Phillips with the input of her dancers Taylor Denia, Eliza Leaver, and Chrissy Lewis.” Torres said. “It’s a very stylistic piece with lots of comedic elements. For example, there is a “Karen walk.” The dance is supposed to be about superheroes and the title comes from the quote ‘she needed a hero so that’s what she became.’” 

The last piece, “Roads Remember,” was performed by a larger group.

“Essentially the whole piece is a journey; where roads can take you wherever you wanna go but in the end they always round back to bring you home,” understudy for the piece Kaela Wilks said. “And along the way you grow physically or emotionally so when you come back home you’re the same but your perspective has changed.”

Shows like these give the dance department a chance to showcase what they do to the rest of the school, as well as give those in the department a chance to perform on stage.

“These kinds of shows are so important because they present to people in this community what the dance program at Florida Southern is doing,” Vaughan said. “We are a growing program and we work so hard, and being able to show people that is very important to us.”


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