Spring Show creates nostalgia

By Amanda Alfanos

It was a bittersweet assignment. Taking photos at American Spirit Dance Company’s Spring Show dress rehearsal brought about a slew of nostalgia. There I was, snapping away on my camera from house right, watching from behind a lens, as my former dance performance classmates presented their final farewell on the Kirkpatrick Auditorium stage. Some of the dances made me laugh, while others puzzled me. Surely there had to be a method to choreographer Kari Shaw’s dance in which the performers traveled around the stage in over-the-top canine costumes. Nonetheless, I couldn’t prevent the tears from welding up behind my eyes during some of the dances. There’s something irreplaceable about the coined “dancer’s high” that artists only can get from performing. Sure, I get a giddy “reporter’s high” when a source says something unforgettable during an interview, but it’s not quite the same adrenaline rush. Being a dance performance major at Oklahoma City University isn’t easy — I would know. I planned to pursue a dance degree for two years, but when I learned my pursuit of a mass communications minor would not be possible, this constituted a change in Fall 2009. My decision to change my concentration wasn’t easy, because I had equal passions for dance and journalism. But looking back, I don’t regret my choice. While stress often is unavoidable in any environment, regular weigh ins created panic among even the thinnest of my classmates and pressure to make graduation levels became an obsession. When friends ask me whether or not I miss being a dance major, I usually reply with a revamped version of a line from Necessary Targets: “Maybe I didn’t want to be a great dancer. Maybe I just wanted to dance.” To read more about what dance performance seniors have to endure, read this previous post. Watching from the audience, part of me wished I could take part in the storytelling of Spring Show. I particularly enjoyed Jo Rowan’s “Lean on Me,” a lyrical-ballet piece, and the Fosse number, “Sing Sing Sing.” But at the same time, I knew that rising to applaud my classmates’ final bow performance was all I needed to contribute to their moment in the spotlight. Below are some photos I snapped of the production. The photos are copyrighted, but they can purchased by visiting Student Publications’ Shutterfly website.









The truth about turnout

I used to spend hours in front of the TV — not on the couch — but on the floor in “frog” position, as it has been coined. My goal was improving my turnout to be 180 rotation, which is something Dr. William G. Hamilton deemed unlikely to do in Dance Magazine.

Hamilton, the orthopedic consultant for New York City Ballet, said dancers can’t improve their turnout much. “The extent of this motion is limited by the alignment and architecture of the ball and socket joint itself,” he told the magazine.

I remember taking a mirror photo of my self  during high school in my butterfly position. I wanted to document what my position looked like before and after I attended a summer intensive at American Ballet Theatre. The humorous part is that I never took the after picture, only to find that the distance from my knees to the ground in the position hadn’t improved — at all.

I spent my spare time in college in the Ann Lacy School of American Dance and Arts Management doing homework in the frog position. I contracted my muscles, adjusting every two minutes or so, in hopes of improving the ease of steps like my rond de jambe en l’air. Little did I know that dancers only are able to tweak the extent of their turnout slightly until they are about 12 or 13, Hamilton said in Dance Magazine.

I suggest that you save your breath if you’re trying dramatically to improve your hip rotation in your college years. Conceal your less-than-180 degree turnout when performing an adagio by angling your body more toward the front than the side. Resist the temptation to rotate in too early when transitioning your leg from the side to back in rond de jame. And most importantly, remind yourself that you’ve surpassed the ripe age of 13, so it’s acceptable to not possess perfect turnout.