This February, the UH School of Theatre & Dance presents Houston’s emerging dance talent at the student showcase “UH Goes to the MATCH.” The showcase, hosted at the Midtown Arts & Theater Center Houston (MATCH) on February 27, 2017, features groundbreaking original works created by undergraduate dancers.
“This is a chance for the local community to see how UH students develop their unique voices as artists,” said Director of Dance Karen Stokes.
UH's dance program is known for both challenging students to push creative boundaries as choreographers and performers and training them to work in a professional performing arts environment; the spring showcase brings these two elements together, front and center. Students are responsible for choreographing, producing, lighting, costuming and performing all of the work, creating what Gillian Bowen (BA Dance ’17)—one of the program’s rising stars—describes as an unparalleled and “fully immersive” experience.
Bowen is performing in two pieces in the showcase, including “Variance” which she co-choreographed with Josh Eguia (BA Dance ’17) for their senior project. She’s also been responsible for lighting and producing showcases in previous years. Though each role presents a unique—and often intimidating—challenge, she said that they have shed new light on elements of dance and helped her grow as an artist.
“You realize that ‘little’ things like [costumes and lighting] can transform the story you want to tell,” she said.
This can be seen in the difference between her two performances. In “Variance,” she and Eguia dress in minimalist black and white outfits to emphasize lines and geometric shapes. While in the high-energy ensemble piece “Miss Placing Pleasant,” created by Courtney Gregory (BA Dance ’17), each character’s outfit illustrates part of their personality.
Other student works include “Heavy Light” choreographed by Ariel Montemayor (BA Dance ’17), “Midnight Waltz” by Carlos Perez (BA Dance ’18) and Michelle Reyes (BA Dance ’19), “Exclude” by Rachel Redding (BA Dance ’18), “Grasp” by Julie Rubio (BA Dance ’17) and “The Socialites” by Haley Shaw (BA Dance ’19).
“We wanted to showcase the diversity of our students and the variety of work that they are creating,” said Assistant Professor of Dance John Beasant III.
“The show has a fresh energy,” Stokes added. “The students bring so much vitality to the work, and we’re really proud of the choreography they’re producing.”