Point Park University's Student-Run Newspaper

Point Park Globe

Point Park University's Student-Run Newspaper

Point Park Globe

Point Park University's Student-Run Newspaper

Point Park Globe

Dance majors present choreography in senior showcase

Dance students received a standing ovation after every show when they presented their senior capstone creations in the Student Choreography Project (SCP) performances last month. These were projects which they choreographed, designed and produced over the fall semester.

The SCPs are a unique opportunity to watch the imagination, conceptualization and execution of students’ diverse work on stage. All dance creations are crafted by the students and guided by supervisors, while the performance is stage-managed and lit by PPU theater students. SCPs serve as many students’ initial exposures to the professional choreographic experience with real-world resources and equipment.

This learning experience was introduced  in 2014 as part of the curriculum exclusively for top dance students. As years passed, the conservatory deemed it necessary for all dance majors to learn what it is like to cast dancers from an audition, create choreography on peers, design lighting, pick out costumes and work with stage management to produce a piece.

Each choreographer is assigned a supervisor who provides suggestions and supports them throughout the process. Depending on the supervisor, the choreographers must explain the meaning and the intention behind their pieces in different  ways. For example some may require this explanation, in essay form, through journal entries, short descriptions or even mood boards. It is a professional and hands-on experience for students to understand choreographic processes.

Crystal Fraizer, hip hop associate professor of dance, has been an SCP supervisor for four semesters, guiding about seven to 12 choreographers each semester. 

“I am here to help guide them, to bring their concept together,” Frazier said. “At the same time, it is up to the choreographer whether or not they take our suggestions and make changes.”

As a supervisor, she has been able to see the different developments and processes of each choreographer she supports as well as the incredible and diverse talent in this year’s SCP pool of choreographers.

“It’s beautiful to see the growth in the dancer’s artistry and finding their identity through movement,” she said.

Student choreographer Vivian Shock presented her work “The Cage of Kalon” in this semester’s performance. Her piece was inspired by the parallels between societal beauty standards and the dance industry’s beauty standards. Like many other students, she has learned a lot from producing her piece in SCP.

“Creating a piece within a professional setting allowed me to have access to many resources that I would have not gotten outside of an academic institution,” Shock said. “It allowed me to find the dynamic of juggling multiple projects at once and become comfortable with being a leader of a project. It assisted me in developing more meaningful connections with dancers that I had yet to connect with throughout the university.”

As part of the preparations behind the scenes, choreographers worked directly with technical theater majors who formed part of the lighting, sound and stage managing crew. The stage management team ran auditions, tech and sound rehearsals on stage and performances.

This fall’s SCP performance stage manager Claire Fenelon was eager to share her experience with the dancers and choreographers of this semester. She described the joy of working with the choreographers and seeing their pieces come to life on stage.

Previous student choreography projects performance of Spring 2022. Pictured left to right, Lejla Raven, Jayden Williams, and Gaby Perez (Photo by Kamea Wilson)

“This group of choreographers was so kind and lovely to work with,” Fenelon said. “Their unique visions and messages conveyed in their pieces were beautiful and engaging. I cannot thank them enough for creating such remarkable art and allowing me to be a part of it all.”

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