Allen and Gilvey dance about womanhood and wandering

Sean Gilvey performs a solo titled “Durham" for the 2017 Senior Dance Thesis Concerts.
Kristen Williams/The Lion's Roar 

As part of their curriculum, general studies majors concentrating in dance must present a Senior Dance Major Thesis Concert. This year, Faith Allen and Sean Gilvey presented theirs.

Allen’s concert was held Apr. 26 at 7:30 p.m. and Gilvey’s was on Apr. 27 at 7:30 p.m.

Allen, who is also majoring in psychology, plans to pursue a master’s degree in psychology at the university. Her show was about womanhood.




“My senior concert was about women and being empowered as a woman,” said Allen. “I wanted to really talk about the different aspects of what makes a woman who they are. My dance was about empowerment, beauty, love, dreaming and uplifting. I wanted it to cover all aspects of the positivity of being a woman, not the negativity with the media that’s happening right now.”

Director of Dance Keith “Skip” Costa felt Allen’s concert showed how much she has grown.

“I liked watching the growth that she’s had here at Southeastern,” said Costa. “I’ve known her before coming to Southeastern. She danced so vividly. She was a woman tonight. I felt she grew up on that stage, especially in her solo. The concept was clear. The dancers executed her ideas. I think she did a great job. She had a great turnout. She ran out of programs, which means she had a pretty good house to support her work.”

Despite technical glitches, Gilvey felt his concerts went well.

“All the pieces went really good,” said Gilvey. “There was a little sound mishap in the very beginning, but it was covered up really quickly, very easily. I really enjoyed it. I enjoyed working on it, and I enjoyed all the people that danced in it. I had a great time doing it, and I’d love to do it again.”

Allen has been dancing for 18 years.

“I used to try to tap dance when I was younger, and I didn’t even have tap shoes on,” said Allen. “So, my mom was like, ‘This must be a sign that she wants to dance.’ She brought me to a local dance studio, and I took off from there.”

Allen’s show was inspired by the song “Bird Girl.”

“There’s been so much going on lately, and I’ve always kind of wanted to do a piece or show about women, but it just wasn’t the right time,” said Allen. “Then I found my solo song, which is called ‘Bird Girl,’ and that made me choose this topic. I had a different topic completely, and then I found that song, and I’m like, ‘This is it. I need to do this. This is what I need to do.’ I just felt it at that moment.”

Allen feels Costa and Dr. Martie Fellom influenced who she has become in her time at the university.

“I had done competitive dance all my life, so it was very jazzy, very showy,” said Allen. “When I came here, Skip and Dr. Fellom really pulled something out of us to tap into our emotions more, to think outside of the box and to push the boundaries. It just kind of molded me into who I am today.”

Gilvey started dancing in college and fell in love with it.

“I went to school at Northwestern, and I was a theatre major,” said Gilvey. “I tried out for the dance company there because it was part of the degree. They accepted me. I worked my way up. When I first started, I couldn’t even touch my ankles. I was very unflexible. When I first started, It was very rough, but I never gave up. I kept working on it because I loved it. It became my major because I loved it so much and now I’m here choreographing.”

This was Gilvey’s first time choreographing.

“Throughout the years, I never had a chance to choreograph before,” said Gilvey. “I had chances to dance, but I had never choreographed anything. So, when I was approached to do a senior concert, I said, ‘Yes, of course.’ All these ideas that I’ve had built up throughout the years of all these different ‘Well, what if I do this? What if I do this? What if I do this?’ just kind of came together in the formation of this one giant show. They all seem to have this central theme of like this lost kindred soul trying to search for something to make you whole.”

Costa felt Gilvey’s concert took the audience on an emotional journey.

“I thought the concert was well done and performed,” said Costa. “I think that it was both creative and entertaining. His goal for the audience was to take them from joy to sadness, yet not depression, and have an emotional roller coaster of the soul.”

Allen believes dance is about making people feel.

“My inspiration is real life experiences, things that people can connect to on different levels,” said Allen. “I’m not afraid to make someone uncomfortable or mad if it’s a sensitive topic. I want people to feel something. That’s what dance is about that’s what the arts are about.”

Alaura Cervine and Ashley Barbarin perform a duet titled "Thorned Embrace" for the 2017 Senior Dance Thesis Concerts. 
Annie Goodman/The Lion's Roar

Faith Allen performs a solo to the song “Bird Girl” for the 2017 Senior Dance Thesis Concerts. 
Annie Goodman/ The Lion's Roar