Illinois State University School of Theatre and Dance is proud to present the Fall 2021 Dance Concert entitled, Elevate, under the artistic direction of Darby Wilde. Elevate! will be presented in the Center for the Performing Arts Theatre November 17–19 at 7:30 p.m. and November 20 at 2 p.m.

The fall dance concert is the culmination of an intense rehearsal process, with original dance pieces choreographed by dance faculty and guest artist Mark Caserta. Wilde states that during auditions “we look for a dancer’s commitment to the movement given, as well as artistry. The dancers rehearse for about 13 weeks twice a week, and each choreographer creates a unique work.”

Each of the works abstractly relates to the concept “elevate.” Wilde’s work is being created as a response to female oppression. “It is a work for nine women using the music of Ka Baird. It is gestural, yet also athletic. It is somber, yet hopeful.”

Assistant Professor of Dance Laina Carney is choreographing an original piece in a variety of dance styles entitled Muliebrity. Carney describes the work as “exploring the labor endured by, towards, and within women’s bodies.” Muliebrity features a group of eight women and “reflects socio-political notions of the male gaze, women’s rights, and challenges our expectations of femininity.”

Instructional Assistant Professor of Dance Greg Merriman focuses on women in leadership in his contemporary ballet piece, A Line in the Sand, set to the music of Penguin Café Orchestra. Merriman has respectfully borrowed a portion of a blog written by Will Marre in August of 2013 that he believes best summarizes the message he wishes to convey in this work:

The three reasons we need women leaders now are:

  1. The world needs a future of peaceful sustainability, not violent scarcity.
  2. We need businesses that are focused on value creation, not just wealth creation.
  3. Women are simply better leaders than men.” (Marre 2013)

Instructional Assistant Professor of Dance Kaley Pruitt choreographs a contemporary dance piece entitled Surge. Pruitt says “the piece’s inspiration was drawn from our discussions around how we step into the ‘superpowers’ that we all have, from seemingly minor gestures of kindness to actions we can take that have a large impact on our communities and beyond. I was inspired by the idea of hyperawareness and attunement as ways to be present in these ‘powers’ and in our voices.” 

Elevate! also features a piece guest-choreographed by Mark Caserta, a dancer, choreographer, and teacher from Philadelphia. While in residency this fall, Caserta taught multiple technique courses and auditioned and choreographed his piece entitled some animals have more than one heart

Tickets for Elevate! can be purchased in person at the Center for the Performing Arts Box Office Monday–Friday, 11 a.m.–5 p.m. or online through Ticketmaster. Masks are required for the duration of the performance.