Making art out of hardship: Dance company to host final performance of semester

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Dance Performance Project, the university’s resident student contemporary dance company, performing in their Fall 2019 mainstage dance concert.

Dance students are set to turn this year’s obstacles into an art form as they take the stage for their end-of-semester performance.

Taking place Nov. 23-24 at 7:30 p.m., “6 Feet Apart: The Coronavirus Project” is a contemporary dance concert to be performed by Dance Performance Project 2, a resident dance company devoted exclusively to the art of improvisation. The performance will last one hour and 15 minutes in the Pottle Music Building.

The concept of this performance was created during the DNC 301 InterARTS Performance course, according to the dance company’s artistic director Keith Costa.

“This concept grew out of the isolation that both our students and faculty were experiencing once we left campus in Spring 2020,” explained Costa. “I wanted to put that honesty onstage and allow our students to heal themselves as well as our audience to grow from our vulnerability.”

“6 Feet Apart: The Coronavirus Project” consists of nine dances, each relating to a different aspect of the pandemic.

“Each of the nine dances take on a very specific idea as it relates to the coronavirus pandemic,” said Costa. “We go back as far as when it was first discovered then to our students going into stay-at-home orders this past Spring 2020 to today’s current issues surrounding coronavirus, but we end with a dance of hope and faith.”

Costa shared the techniques he developed to make an improvisational dance performance possible.

“The entire contemporary dance concert is performed improvisationally,” shared Costa. “All of the nine dances were created with a choreographic method that I developed and teach here at Southeastern called ‘Mapping’. Each dance has a set map of choreography to follow but dance or movement is created on the spot based on that particular map’s instructions.”

With the use of improvisation-based choreography, news clips, sound scores and music, Costa explained the audience will be also taken through a journey of their own.

“Besides being personal, emotional, and beautifully performed, this contemporary dance concert is interactive,” shared Costa. “So, the audience will be given a home (their seats in the auditorium once they purchase their tickets) but will have to travel by way of floor decals spaced six feet apart to view the first few dances, which are outside of the auditorium, before returning home again (their original seats) due to a “Louisiana stay-at-home order” to watch the rest of the performance unfold.”

For Costa, watching students create art out of their hardships has been his favorite part.

“My favorite aspect was watching the group of nine students create ideas on how they struggle with coronavirus obstacles in their personal lives and then collaboratively make works of art out of those obstacles,” said Costa. “I love seeing how the performances of each dance unfold with a live audience present and how emotionally connected the group works together on stage.”

The Pottle Auditorium audience capacity is currently limited to 75, with tickets being sold on a first come, first served basis. Tickets can be purchased in the lobby one hour prior to the performance at $10 for students, senior citizens, children and military and $12 for general admission.