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Riley Murray (standing), a junior studying Dance at Ohio University, raises above other dancers during rehearsal on Sunday, April 7, 2019. The piece, called "what lies beneath us", was choreographed by Dance senior Rachel Larkin for the Spring Senior Dance Concert this Friday.

Annual spring senior dance concert to showcase five senior choreographed works

Every spring semester, the Ohio University School of Dance hosts a concert for senior dance majors to showcase what they’ve learned throughout the years in either a solo or group performance.

This spring, five seniors will present their choreographed works, the highlight of the students’ year-long capstone projects. There will be three senior solos and two group pieces performed by students of all years, but choreographed by seniors.

Chloe Carpenter draws from her own life and is performing her solo piece called “Freedom To Feel,” which is about emotional vulnerability experienced when falling in love.

“It’s hard to force yourself to choreograph anything that isn’t relevant in your life, or something you’re passionate in,” Carpenter, a senior studying dance, said. “It’s a lot more meaningful when it’s that way, rather than trying to force yourself to do something you’re not totally invested in.”

Shortly after the semester began, Carpenter started preparing her piece for the concert still several months away.

“It’s a long process, thinking through everything, testing things out,” Carpenter said. “You’re trying to convey what you’re trying to convey without speaking, which is the most difficult part of it.”

Putting what she wants to say in her movements has proven to be a trial-and-error process for Carpenter, so the feedback sessions from instructors and fellow dancers have helped her hone in on what she wants to present at the concert. 

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Students studying Dance at Ohio University model costumes for senior Dance major Rachel Larkin on Sunday, April 7, 2019. The students would go on to rehearse a piece Larkin choreographed called "what lies beneath us" for the Spring Senior Dance Concert this Friday.

“It’s a matter of making it long enough that you know you’ve shown enough, but not making it so long that you’ve overstated what you’re trying to convey,” Carpenter said. 

Performing in the concert will be a bittersweet feeling for Carpenter, but a rewarding one to see everyone’s hard work pay off.

“I’ve performed in this theater so many times, and now it’s the last time,” Carpenter said. “It’s always stressful, but a good kind of stress, when it comes down to it.”

Alexis Reed, a senior earning a specialized studies degree in dance semantics and human health, is performing in a group piece choreographed by Rachel Larkin. Larkin’s piece “What Lies Beneath Us,” is inspired by ant colonies and their ability to work together and accomplish tasks.

“It’s a lot of floor work, which I really enjoy,” Reed said. “Playing around with a simple idea that there’s all these things that you don’t see every day but they’re always there, like ants.”

Preparing for the concert has been enjoyable for Reed, especially being a senior outside of the capstone, yet still having been through the process of performing several times.

“Even though it’s a new piece, there’s nothing new to stress me out about,” Reed said. “I know it’s gonna happen and how a performance works.”

Kelsee Booker will perform her choreographed solo piece “What It Is,” which reminisces on the times when many find themselves having to go with the flow. 

“Around the time when we had to consolidate our ideas, this was exactly what was going on in my life,” Booker, a senior studying dance, said. “I just thought, ‘You know what, I’m just gonna make it about this.’”

As the concert approaches, Booker feels more and more prepared to share her piece with an audience.

“The concert fulfills a requirement but it’s not all we do, it’s a year long thing,” Booker said. “The spring concert is a good wrap up of it, mostly for the seniors. I’m so pumped.”


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