By Ivonne Kawas
The University of Southern Mississippi’s dance program, housed in the School of Performing and Visual Arts, is set to kick off its fall 2021 concerts featuring performances that showcase unique and talented choreographed works that have been developed by faculty and students over the course of the semester.
Featuring the Southern Miss Repertory Dance Company (RDC) Concert 1 on Nov. 11-13 at 7 p.m., followed by the RDC Concert 2 on Dec. 1, 3, and 4 at 7 p.m., the series will culminate with the Freshman Repertory Company (FRC) Student Dance Showcase in their performance debut on Dec. 5 at 2 p.m. All performances are held in Studio 115 of the Theatre and Dance Building on the Hattiesburg campus.
“We are thrilled to be able to present live work again and to see students thrive in live performances. They have worked so hard and have truly missed being able to feel the energy of a live audience,” said Lauren Smith, assistant professor of dance.
“On my end, I am ecstatic to be able to present a contemporary ballet work that will open the show, and will be our first moment back to normalcy. It is gratifying to see dancers loving what they do, and to be surrounded by artists, lighting designers, and hearing the whispers of “dancers ready” from the stage wings,” she added.
Mikail Samuels, dance major and RDC member from Kingston, Jamaica, highlights that the audience will witness art up close and personal as they bring choreographic pieces to life.
“I am looking forward to the thrill of dancing with friends and bringing each of my choreographers’ pieces to life,” said Samuels. “However, I am most excited about taking the audience on the emotional journey of each dance, while leaving a sense of hope,” Samuels added.
To culminate the fall series, the FRC will present their collaborative and creative process in the Student Dance Showcase.
“As the freshman’s first public performance at USM, they bring an array of skills and personalities to the stage,” said Smith.
“One of the pieces, Where We Begin, and the dancers, represent different moments of “firsts” and new journeys into their lives as dance majors, and college students in general. This dance is about being back together for the first time and includes phrase work that explores what it means to begin,” she added.
The RDC was established to provide performing opportunities for dance majors and to promote excellence in dance performance for our students. As company members, students gain insight into the protocol and standards of professional dance as they prepare for careers.
The FRC members take DAN 220, a class taken in dance majors’ first semester. It is a structured rehearsal process that leads to a public performance. At the completion of this course, students have a better understanding of the creative process and expectations for professionalism.
Price of admission for in-person or livestream is $15 for general public; $10 for faculty, staff, seniors, and military; and $6 for students. Reservations required for in-person performances, limited seating available. The FRC’s Student Showcase is free.