Butler Ballet performs Student Choreography Showcase

Dance students rehearse a piece of choreography by Kristianna Henthorn. Photo by Michela Semenza.

MALACHI WHITE | STAFF REPORTER | mrwhite1@butler.edu

Butler Ballet is putting on their annual Student Choreography Showcase on Oct. 26 and 27 in Lilly Hall Studio 310.

The Student Choreography Showcase allows ballet students in the Jordan College of the Arts an opportunity to create their own piece for their fellow colleagues to perform for the student body at Butler.

This year’s choreographers include first-years Isabelle Ramey, Teryn Trent and Darius Hickman; sophomore Kentaro Shiozawa; juniors Sarah Morris, Leah Wolfe, Kaila Carter, Ciara Cicalese and Ashley Thopiah; and senior Allison Haan.

Shiozawa participated in the showcase last fall with an original ballet routine that received high praise from the audience.

Sophomore Destiny Billot is one of Shiozawa’s dancers for the second year in a row. Billot is also one of Shiozawa’s closest friends in Butler Ballet.

“I love working with Ken, he’s the best and literally so positive about the whole thing,” Billot said.

This year, Shiozawa has choreographed a dance that he calls a “neo-classical ballet routine,” featuring seven dancers from JCA. The music features classical themes but played by an electric violin.

“The piece doesn’t really have a real story, so I want the audience to experience it and let their feelings flow freely as they bring their own interpretation to the piece,” Shiozawa said.

Sophomore Kyra Laubacher is another of Shiozawa’s dancers for the piece. This is her second year participating in the showcase but it is her first piece she has done for Shiozawa.

“One thing that I love and find interesting about Ken’s piece is that he has lots of interesting shapes, and it’s really cool that it all magically fits in the music,” Laubacher said.

Another of Shiozawa’s dancers, sophomore Fiona Connolly, is also participating for a second year.

“He has the vision, and we just have to figure out how to do it for him,” Connolly said.

Sarah Morris is a junior and this will be her second year doing the showcase for Butler Ballet.

“I had a really good experience the first time around so I definitely wanted to participate again,” Morris said. “And I wanted to try a new concept and apply some of the choreographic ideas I’ve learned in classes here at Butler.”

Sophomores Nick Bentz and Francis Mihm will both be featured in Morris’s piece. They participated as dancers for the choreographers in last year’s showcase.

“I think audiences, especially college-age kids will take away a different understanding of all the ways choreography can be used,” Bentz said. “For example, Sarah choreographs to spoken word in this piece and in an age where dance is very commercialized, using something like spoken word in place of music will be very different for a lot of viewers.”

The piece Morris has choreographed is in the contemporary style of dance. Contemporary dance is a performance genre that has grown to become one of the dominant genres for formally trained dancers. She has nine dancers featured in her piece.

“I have enjoyed working on the piece,” Mihm said. “Sadly, I don’t do all that much dancing in it, but I really enjoy experiencing other people’s process for coming up with choreography, so it was nice to see how Sarah worked, as this is my first time working with her.”

Morris is very excited to be showing her work again for the student showcase. She did not participate her first year at Butler but has continued to build upon her love for choreography.

“My piece is unique in a few different ways: it is inspired by art at a museum, it involves several props, and rather than using music, my dancers dance to recordings of their own voices speaking,” she said. “The piece is entirely based on exhibits at the Museum of Broken Relationships.”

“Basically, anonymous donors submit seemingly random artifacts to the museum that were in some way significant to a broken relationship. My props are inspired by items that have actually been donated to the museum, and the audio recordings are based on actual written descriptions submitted along with these items.”

Students can support their fellow Bulldogs for free at 7:30 p.m. on both nights.


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