EKU Dance Theatre, currently a set of classes for new and advanced dancers to expand their dance knowledge with extensive choreography and lessons, performed what might have been its last concert April 6 through 8.
Dance Theatre began around 1950 as a place for students with a passion for dance to take credited courses from professionals.
Marianne McAdam, who has a doctorate in dance education and kinesiology, has been the director of Dance Theatre since 1989 and will be retiring in June due to a decline of offered classes in the arts and lack of funding for Dance Theatre.
McAdam’s retirement equals the conclusion of the program as it has been formally known.
Each concert put on by Dance Theatre costs between $8,000 and $10,000. EKU offers the program no money directly but does provide free rehearsal and concert space.
The magnitude of McAdam’s impact over the years was felt by the audience Friday night as many Dance Theatre alumni rushed to the stage for a farewell number at the end of the show, dancing to “You’ll Be In My Heart” by Phil Collins. McAdam’s wife, Katrina Martir, planned this number and kept it secret for almost 10 months.
“We wanted to bring the past, good vibes, light and love together on stage,” said Catesby Spears, 20, president of EKU Dance Theatre and a junior elementary education major from Paris.
“It was a fantastic way to go,” McAdam said. “This has been the joy of my life.”
The Spring Concert addressed many current social issues, including the Black Lives Matter movement with “Diary of the Oppressed” and the gay rights movement with “Love is Love is Love is Love.”
“My favorite piece was ‘Love is Love is Love is Love’ because I’m a gay man and personally felt the emotion that was behind the piece,” said Ben Wells, 18, a sophomore business management major from Sharpsburg. “Overall, the program was very in tune with the world today and portrayed a sense of awareness.”
McAdam contributed to the choreography of three of the 13 numbers, leaving many of the other pieces that addressed social issues to be choreographed by seven students, Martir and guest choreographer and faculty member, Nashwa Cahill.
“Whatever’s on their minds comes out,” McAdam said, referring to the student choreographers. When it comes to the content of the show, McAdam said it is up to the students completely.
While the future of EKU Dance Theatre is currently unknown, Spears said she and Dance Theatre VP Mary Bush plan to alter the group into a Registered Student Organization or RSO. No faculty member has been chosen to preside over the RSO as of now.
“We want to keep the idea Marianne had alive in the RSO,” said Spears.