The stage is set, the lights come on, the dancers take their positions and the performance is about to begin. EKU Dance Theatre is presenting its annual Spring Concert once more, boasting a variety show of dance routines that are choreographed and performed by students. 

The two-night concert will be held at the O’Donnell Hall in the Whitlock building on Friday, April 12 at 8 p.m. and Saturday, April 13, at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Featuring 12 student choreographed dances, the show puts a wide array of dance styles on display, including jazz, modern, hip-hop, tap and even an American Sign Language dance. The student performers of EKU Dance Theatre were heavily involved in the production of each piece and come from many different dance backgrounds and experiences. 

For Mary Rose Stelzer-Weize, a sophomore communications major, this will be her first time performing in a dance concert with the group. A dancer with just five years of experience, she joined the EKU Dance Theatre in search of an outlet to exercise her passions and relax. Where she had previously only performed in lecture demonstrations for the Dance Theatre, she is excited to finally make her official debut on the main stage.

“Dance is my therapy,” said Stelzer-Weize. “It’s when I’m happiest when I get to be on that stage and make people happy.”

Stelzer-Weize highlighted the friendly atmosphere of the student-run group, calling it “one big family.” Some of her favorite moments included simply hanging out and talking with her fellow dancers after practices. A similar sentiment was echoed by fellow dancer Dale Robinson, a senior studying criminal justice.

“I would not be the person I am without dance,” said Robinson. “I feel happier when I’m dancing, it’s like a release.” 

Robinson has been dancing since high school and was convinced to join the Dance Theatre by a friend. Before joining, he admitted he didn’t do much outside of school and now loves being on stage with all the people he’s met through the program. Amongst the close-knit troupe he has met some of his best friends, he said. 

One of the more unique dances that will be featured at the Spring concert will incorporate American Sign Language into the performance. The dance is choreographed completely by EKU Dance Theatre’s own Andy Morgan, currently an employee at Case Dining Hall. Being deaf himself, Morgan believes his performance will show a lot of hearing-impaired people that dance is possible as a valid form of expression for them.

“You don’t have to hear to enjoy it; it’s fun. You can feel the rhythm and you can feel the vibration,” Morgan said. “You have to practice, move slow and see what everyone is doing, but it becomes easier the more you practice.”

A longtime member of the Dance Theatre, Morgan was first pushed to join the program by his friends. There weren’t many ASL interpreters available when he joined, so it was a difficult experience for him starting out. Over time, however, he was able to improve by continuing to push and practice. Morgan now enjoys ballroom dancing and stresses the importance of loving dance in order to put on an emotional performance on stage. 

The EKU Dance Theatre invites students of all skill levels and dance backgrounds to try out at their next auditions in the fall of 2019.

Tickets are $5 for EKU students and faculty, $10 for general admission and free for children five and under. Some of the songs used in the show contain explicit language and themes, so viewer discretion is advised. Ticketscan be reserved by calling at 859-622-2171. For more information and updates,can contact the program on Instagram and Twitter @EKUDANCE or on Facebook @EKUDanceTheatre.

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