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The Hawkeye

The Student News Site of University of Louisiana Monroe

The Hawkeye

The Student News Site of University of Louisiana Monroe

The Hawkeye

Fall Fusion Dance Concert celebrates different styles

Carley Nail

Under the bright stage lights of Brown Auditorium, the stars of the ULM Repertory Dance Ensemble made their long-awaited debut. The company of student dancers practiced all year for a single performance: the Fall Fusion Dance Concert. 

The theme of this year’s concert was “Celebrate.” Each of the six performances represented a different style of dance, ranging from jazz to contemporary. The performers easily switched from one routine to the next, celebrating all forms of dance. 

Director Starla Gatson joined the dance faculty in 2022, taking a new approach to choreographing the Fall Fusion Dance Concert. She crafted the performances around a theme rather than creating unrelated dances. 

“My vision was to create dances that celebrated a different topic, theme or event,” Gatson said. “Bringing this vision to life involved sifting through a lot of music and attempting to find songs that related to the themes and ideas that were on my mind.”

Junior speech pathology major Kayla Cornet opened the show by performing a tap routine to the Jonas Brothers’ “Celebrate.” Her quick foot movements perfectly matched the fast tempo of the song. She did not miss a single step or beat as she tap-danced around the stage.  

Sophomore biology major Vantasia Franklin and freshman psychology major Skyla Villanueva performed a jazz duet of “All That Jazz” from “Chicago.” 

“Chicago” is a musical that tells the story of two rival entertainers locked up in jail for murdering their husbands. The musical is famous for the stillness between each dance move.

The choreography in this dance was smooth, but when the dancers would reach out their arms or swing their hips, there was a sharpness to it. The music started out slow but gradually increased in speed and intensity. 

“My favorite part about being a part of this production was learning different styles of dances that I’m not familiar with,” Villanueva said. “The preparation seemed very long, but for the most part, it was an enjoyable experience for me.”

The last dance of the concert was “Hip Hop 50” and featured Kayla Cornet, Franklin and Villanueva.

This performance was a mashup of various popular hip-hop artists from the past 50 years. This dance’s choreography was quick to match the pace of the music and also included a lot of tricks. 

“I knew most of the songs that were played during the dance, so it was fun to dance in my seat with the music,” junior biology major Agnes Ugokwe said.

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