Dancers to Kick Off 9-Day UCF Celebrates the Arts Festival

It may be hard for arts patrons to sit still during the UCF Celebrates the Arts festival when the university’s annual spring dance concert kicks off the nine-day festival at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts.

With presentations of ballet, tap, jazz, modern, contemporary, pointe and hip-hop, the program will be a celebration of new dance works created by students, faculty and alumni.

Musical theater senior Ashby Carlos, one of the student choreographers whose routine was chosen for the event, said his dance is about the conflict between Adam and Eve set to a mixture of ballet, African contemporary and Bollywood.

“Personally, this has given me an opportunity to do something I’ve never done before. Judi Siegfried [UCF dance coordinator] has given me permission to expand my horizons,” Carlos said. “I never thought I’d be doing this in front of so many people. It is really significant to me.

“We all need to express ourselves – because what else do we have to live for?”

Earl D. Weaver, Theatre UCF artistic director, said this year’s concert is significant.

“It is the 10th anniversary of our annual spring dance concert, which has presented more than 1,000 dancers and 150 new choreographed works by students, faculty, and alumni over the past 10 years,” he said.  “Having the opportunity to showcase the dance works created in our department has been a tremendous boost to the number of students auditioning for our dance minor program.”

More than 70 performers in the concert were selected through an audition process.

The participants are primarily in the dance minor and Theatre Department major programs, but there are some other students from around the university and alumni who tried out and were cast for the anniversary performance, too, Weaver said.

The competition among choreographers was rigorous this year.

“There were more pieces auditioned than could be included in the concert,” Weaver said. “Judi [Siegfried] and I had a very tough time selecting the best student pieces for the concert.”

Each student choreographed an original piece that was performed at their class final, and from there, eight pieces were chosen to appear in the concert. The other 11 pieces were created by faculty members, alumni, and students who have choreographed for previous concerts.”

“This year we are inviting our dance minor alumni to come back and perform in the concert, and we’re thrilled to welcome old and new faces to the Dr. Phillips Center,” Siegfried said

The student-choreographed works were required to have a story line for the class finals. Some of the themes are a mother caring for a child with a later role reversal, a community coming together after a natural disaster, and a discovery of companionship.

Some of the other “feel good” presentations will include high-energy tap pieces, romantic ballet and a tribute to Frank Sinatra.

The dance concert is one of the many events that will be presented in this second annual UCF Celebrates the Arts which is all free and open to the public.

More than 1,000 university students, 100 faculty members and some collaborative programs with outside partners will showcase theatre, dance, orchestra, choirs, big band, chamber music, cabaret, concert bands, opera, visual arts, studio art, gaming, animation, photography and film.

This is part of a series of stories about the April 8-16 events at UCF Celebrates the Arts 2016. All events are free, but tickets are required for performances and entrance into the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, 445 S. Magnolia Ave., Orlando.