Young Choreographers Showcase April 6-8

Biennial performance to feature 10 original works

Marleigh Stern’s R.E.M. will be one of 10 original dances featured in the 2012 Young Choreographers Showcase April 6-8. Pictured are dancers Brianna Coppersmith, Andrea Roberts, Lauren Abadie, Zoe Roberts and Amanda Matheson. Photo by David Marchant. Hires version available upon request.

Washington University in St. Louis’ Performing Arts Department (PAD) in Arts & Sciences will present its fifth biennial Young Choreographers Showcase Friday through Sunday, April 6-8, in the Annelise Mertz Dance Studio.

The concert will feature more than a dozen dancers in 10 original works created by student choreographers in the PAD’s Dance Program.

Performances begin at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, April 6 and 7; and at 2 p.m. Sunday, April 8.

Tickets are $15, or $10 for students, seniors and WUSTL faculty and staff. Tickets are available through the Edison Theatre Box Office and all MetroTix outlets. The Annelise Mertz Dance Studio is located in the Mallinckrodt Center, 6445 Forsyth Blvd.

For more information, call (314) 935-6543.

‘The strongest version of itself’

Young Choreographers Showcase represents the full spectrum of our dancers’ interests and activities,” says David W. Marchant, professor of the practice in dance, who serves as co-artistic director for the showcase, along with senior Brianna Coppersmith.

Dances are chosen by a jury comprising Coppersmith, Marchant and three other members of the dance faculty: Mary-Jean Cowell, associate professor of dance; Christine Knoblauch-O’Neal, professor of the practice in dance; and Cecil Slaughter, senior lecturer in dance.

“Once works are selected by the panel, virtually all aspects of the show, both onstage and behind the scenes, are managed by the students themselves,” Marchant says, “though faculty continue to provide feedback to help choreographers realize their works.”

Coppersmith adds that, “In terms of choreography, concept and lighting, instructors ask us the sorts of questions that allow a piece to become the strongest version of itself. However, much of the show’s success depends on students collaborating with students — student choreographers and dancers collaborating with student lighting designers and tech crew.

“None of us began YCS totally green, but I’ve noticed this freshness, this thrilling uncertainty, to what each student is doing,” Coppersmith says. “We’re all curious artists and our eyes are wide open. We’re eager to learn as much as we can from one another.”

Still, few things focus the mind and body like an impending performance.

“In rehearsal, we’re all dancers and we share a movement vocabulary that makes a common sense,” Coppersmith says. “But there is something unfamiliar about anticipating an audience and an audience review. It’s hard not to speculate how it will be understood or perceived.

“It’s a privilege to present at YCS, and none of us want to disappoint our dancers, the faculty, the department or the audience,” she says.

“I think we’re all learning that it’s a demanding art, to compose an ‘interesting’ dance.”

See accompanying slideshow for program details as well as choreographers’ descriptions of their works. All photos by David Marchant.