TDAA presents ‘What Makes You, What Makes Us’

Southern Utah University’s Department of Theatre, Dance and Arts Administration will be holding their semesterly dance concert on Feb. 10, 11 and 13 at 7:30 p.m. in the Randall L. Jones Theatre. There will also be a matinee performance on Feb. 11 at 2 p.m. The concert, titled “What Makes You, What Makes Us,” is artistically directed by Andrea Vazquez-Aguirre and features pieces choreographed by nine SUU dance students.

Unlike the faculty-choreographed fall dance concert, the spring concert is entirely choreographed by students. Each student choreographer applied over the summer to be chosen for the concert. 

“It’s so exciting that this show is made purely by the students, and I think it’s important to come support student work and see what all of us have been working really hard on,” said choreographer Olivia Willden.

Student choreographers are also dancers in other pieces and have had a seven-week rehearsal process in which they got to rehearse their pieces for three hours per week. 

“A lot of us come from a background where you don’t have a lot of time to prepare something before you perform it,” said choreographer Taylor Tumminia. “It allows for imperfections and for exploration to still occur while it’s being performed.”

Tumminia’s piece, titled “Crossing at Carson,” is unique because she choreographed it alongside her longtime friend Elley White. White and Tumminia decided to apply to choreograph together and allow their existing friendship to add to their choreography.

The theme for the concert was decided after the pieces had been choreographed and a common thread was found within them.

“We felt each piece had a sense of humanity,” said Willden, who choreographed a piece named “Blurred Passings,” which follows a series of individual stories intertwining.

“What Makes You, What Makes Us” is part of TDAA’s mainstage season and is the only dance-centric show this semester.

“This show in particular can maybe unlock some new ideas or new interpretations of what dance can be and what it is,” said Tumminia. “Anyone can take on this art form as their own and explore it in any way they’d like, and it doesn’t have to be this huge thing. All you have to be is human.”

Story by: Tessa Cheshire
Photos courtesy of Asher Swan