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.









Confessions of a pirouetting powerhouse

Chaz Wolcott, dance performance senior

Executing 13-14 revolutions on one leg isn’t something the average person can do, but Chaz Wolcott, dance performance senior, does it with ease.

“I started dance when I was about 1 when my parents taught me how to do the cha cha,” he said. “They say I was still in diapers.”

Wolcott’s parents enrolled him in tap and jazz classes when he was about 2 1/2 or 3 years old. He said he hasn’t stopped dancing since.

While Wolcott’s pirouettes are acclaimed to be “absolutely amazing” by Mary Price Boday, associate professor of dance, turning hasn’t always come easy to him.

“When I was little I could not even do a double up until the age of maybe 14,” he said. “It always bothered me ’cause boys always seemed to turn and I couldn’t at all.”

Determined to improve, Wolcott practiced turning by spinning for hours in socks in the kitchen.

“The only way you can get better at turning is just to keep practicing, and not necessarily in class. You just have to find your center, which is something I think you have to find on your own. You can’t just take ballet once a day or whatever and expect to get it. You have to just keep practicing and spin around in the grocery store isles until you find your center,” he said.

Boday said having the ability to execute at least a double or triple pirouette is must to be a competitive working dancer.

“If you look at what dancers can do today, as opposed to what dancers could do 75 years ago, it’s really really different,” she said. “That’s just the nature of any of the performing arts. We always push and try to do more.”