Spring Dance Concert invites non-dancers

By Jori Ayers

UT’s dance programs annual Spring Dance Concert is making its way back on stage. Held in Falk Theatre, the Spring Dance Concert features performances from UT dance faculty and other guest choreographers with styles ranging from ballet, modern, tap and hip-hop. All of the choreographed works are performed by UT students. The Spring Dance Concert is open to anyone who is interested in participating.  

“To be honest I almost quit,” said Thanbang Autlwetse, junior international business and finance major. “I turned to my friends and told them I was just going to leave.” Autlwetse didn’t leave, though and went out and danced and now will perform two pieces.

It might seem discouraging to people when they see students who have dance experience under their belt, but this should not dishearten participants. The exposure can be crucial.

“Auditioning for the concert was not so much as a different experience, as I have auditioned for hundreds of things over the years,” said Aaliyah Leonard, double major in biochemistry and applied dance. “But it had a different atmosphere, one filled with support and love.”

When stepping foot into Edison on the day of auditions, auditioners are not only looking for a good outcome, but they are looking to have fun and connect with other dancers.

“I was slightly nervous and doubtful of my own abilities,” said Leonard. “But being at UT I have learned very quickly that dancers here only want you to succeed and are in no way jealous or spiteful. That makes my auditions more enjoyable.”

From the perspective of someone who has never danced for a company before, or who hasn’t had the technical training, the Spring Dance Concert will be different. Putting yourself out there and auditioning for something out of your comfort zone can give you a sense of accomplishment.  

“First off, I was excited and second I was like woah these people really want me,” said Autlwetse. “It was sort of a sense of accomplishment like I really did that I’m there and I made it.

No matter how many years of experience a person has, auditioning for a part is still as l nerve wracking as doing it for the first time. Everyone has the same feelings and everyone is in the same boat, but nevertheless everyone is there to dance.

“I was nervous for the results, but I always am,” said Leonard. “I was surprised about the pieces I did get into and curious about the ones that I didn’t, but either way I was just happy to get another chance to do what I love.”

UT’s dance program is a place that students who love to dance can call their home. Students are expected come in and enjoy themselves in the name of dance.

“Dancing was never something serious where I had to practice,” said Autlwetse. “It never became formal until now when I’m in college, now I feel like i’m taking some sort of initiative cause I’m joining dance crews and dancing here.”

Dance is not just a sequence of movement. Dance is a form of art that unites people all over the world. Dance may be an escape, a release, or a way to calm the body or mind. Whatever it may be, dance is a way of expression and its a passion for many people.

“I would say dance for me is a lot of things,”Autlwetse said. “Most of the time when I dance it’s more like an escape. It just resets my mind in a way where I feel like I can actually take action. every-time I dance there is just this different person that just comes out.”

Come on out to see Thanbang and Aaliyah as well as the rest of the UT dance department preform. Shows will be held in Falk Theatre on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Feb. 14-16, at 8 p.m., with a Saturday matinee on Feb. 16 at 2 p.m.


Jori Ayers can be reached at jori.ayers@spartans.ut.edu

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