Spring Dance Concert: beginnings and endings

by Michaela Thomas

The University of Tampa’s Annual Spring Dance concert will be held from Thursday, Feb. 13 to the Saturday, Feb. 15 in the Falk Theater. There are four shows in total with the Saturday showing including a matinee performance along with an evening show. 

 The Spring Dance Concert is different from the Spring Dance Happening because unlike happening, the dance concert is only held once during the academic school year and is choreographed by faculty and a guest artist. 

 With the dance concert this year, it is seeing some endings and some brand new beginnings. 

 Matea Smith, senior dance major, has been at UT for almost all four years as she transferred during her freshman year.

 “The first thing that I had seen at UT was actually the Spring Dance Concert. It was a very unique show, a lot of variety to it,” said Smith.  

Smith came from a very competitive dance background, so there was a clear change in pace of the dance program at UT which is more teaching based. 

 Although it was a very awkward transition, Smith is still grateful that she is able to not only have the performing aspect, but also the teaching aspect under her belt as well. Smith even stated that the more eye opening classes that she took were her teaching method classes. 

“Words can not express the extreme joy that she has brought in everything that she has gone through in life,” said Taime Smith, Matea Smith’s mother. “She’s gone above and beyond what I’ve expected her to do. I am extremely proud.”

 With it being her last Spring Dance Concert, Smith said she is excited for the opportunity, especially since this year she is in the guest choreographer’s piece. Smith had to go through a three-day intensive with the choreographer with practices lasting from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. 

 Even though it was difficult, Smith is excited for others to see the show, especially it being her last one. 

 “I don’t think this being my last dance concert is going to hit me until we do our circle that we do before our performances. And it is usually the last night that they call graduating seniors into the circle,” said Smith. “I don’t think it will hit me until then.”

 Along with one dancer’s spring dance concert career ending, there is also the addition of a brand new career, that one belonging to the brand new assistant professor of dance, Michael Crotty. 

 This is Crotty’s first year as a professor in the UT Dance Department. “There is a really dynamic and diverse student population here which allows for a multiplicity of perspectives and approaches to dance making which I find really valuable,” said Crotty.

 Crotty has had a very rich career before becoming full time faculty at UT. He completed his undergrad at a dance conservatory in the Netherlands called Codarts and got his graduate degree at the University of Utah. 

 His professional credits include dancing for two Netherlands dance companies called the Scapino Ballet and the Broening and Dance Theater. He also danced for the Los Angeles Contemporary Dance Company for eight years, danced in commercials, music videos and even had an agent. 

 His teaching credits include being the Dance Education Director at the University of Utah where he worked for two years before finally coming to UT. 

 This is Crotty’s first year teaching, which means that it is also his first dance concert to choreograph. Instead of choreographing a dance with a message, Crotty took a different approach. 

 “I didn’t work narratively in this one. It’s not my desire to tell a story or to really hammer the audience over the head with meaning,” said Crotty. “My primary goal was really to use this process to get to know the dancers and get to showcase their physicality.”

 Even though Crotty’s first year of teaching is not over, he seems to be making a lasting impression on his students.

 “Michael is very passionate and attentive in his classes. He prompts you to delve deeper into the reasons behind things,” said sophomore dance and biochemistry double major, Aaliyah Leonard. “He’s very welcoming and weird and funny and I always enjoy talking with him. I am excited to see his dance concert piece.”

 Come out and watch the Spring Dance Concert from Thursday to Saturday, Feb. 13-15 at 8 p.m. at the David Falk theater or the matinee performance at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 15.

Michaela Thomas can be reached at michaela.thomas@spartans.ut.edu

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