Texas Tech University

In Motion

Kyla Olson

October 27, 2021

Kyla Olson

Nine weeks into the semester, and the days are flying by as we move full steam ahead on classes and upcoming productions. Shifting back to in-person activities, there's a vibrant consciousness of awakenings happening within our regular routines, challenging us to dig deeper in our work. 

Our six student choreographers of Fall Dance Festival are busy finalizing their works for the upcoming production in the LHUCA Firehouse Theatre this November. These students spent the summer planning pieces related to the season theme of “awakenings” and began the creative process with dancers in late August. They were tasked with creating a fully developed choreographic work that includes the design elements of lighting, costumes, and sound. While collaborating with their designers throughout the creative process, understanding the impact design can have on movement, these choreographers have learned how design elements assist in their storytelling and enhance the meaning of movement. We hope that audiences will appreciate the diverse viewpoints of “awakenings” explored in this production.

It's also exciting to see the student performers showcased in Fall Dance Festival. First- through fourth-year students perform in this production, displaying the full range of performative abilities and skills our dance students possess. I am consistently amazed by the overwhelming talent of our students in the dance program who are not only delighted to return to the studio working alongside their choreographers and peers and to perform in front of live audiences this season.

Serving as the choreographer for Spring Awakening, I am thrilled to work alongside a brilliant production team and talented cast, including our exceptional director, Jesse Jou, and superb music director, Casey Joiner. Considering this musical's mature subject matter, we have approached this show with care and clear intentions. There is an open dialogue happening around the who, what, why, and how of each song and scene. Intimacy director Laura Rikard, founder of Theatrical Intimacy Education, has an amazing skillset for the more theatrically intimate moments of the show, and graduate student Justin Krall is training the cast in safe and effective fight choreography. I have especially enjoyed the choreographic process of this musical, approaching this show with more contemporary, gestural movement, quite different from a show like A Chorus Line, where all the dancers need to look identical in the choreography. I've worked with the cast to individualize each dance, allowing them to make specific choices in how the movement can be performed to heighten and expand character. In a show where young teenagers aren't allowed much freedom for themselves, I'm asking the cast to find the autonomy within their bodily movement.

And faculty have begun making work to be featured in DanceTech next March. Even in the early stages, we are thrilled with the discoveries being made in the studio, and we very much look forward to sharing our original choreographic work with you!