The School of Theatre and Dance presents the Spring 2022 Dance Concert, Emergence, under the artistic direction of Laina Reese. Emergence will be presented in Westhoff Theatre on April 21–23 at 7:30 p.m. and on April 23 and 24 at 2 p.m.

Assistant Professor of Dance and Artistic Director Reese said, “We are thrilled to be able to present our first in-person Spring Dance concert since Spring 2019 in Westhoff Theatre. Emergence is comprised of four original faculty works from Darby Wilde, Laina Reese, Greg Merriman, and Kaley Pruitt, along with two guest artist works from Sara Semonis and Morgan Williams. Illinois State Dance Theatre is comprised of vibrant and diverse student artists and performers that have worked extremely hard for this performance.”

Reese’s piece entitled Capital Confessions explores themes surrounding the capitalist mindset that infiltrates society. The inspiration for the work was the Wu-Tang track, “C.R.E.A.M” (Cash Rules Everything Around Me).

Associate Professor and Head of the Dance Program Darby Wilde’s work is titled A Void In You and is a work for six movers that explores the human condition of loss through partnering, gestures, and improvisational movement. This work is a collaboration with the six dancers who each contributed movement and artistic intention. This work uses music from Sonnymoon, Miguel Atwood-Ferguson, Bruce Brubaker, and Max Cooper with sound editing by Tony Reimer.

Instructional Assistant Professor of Dance Greg Merriman is presenting I Need to See Your Face. Merriman explains, “I was able to return to the classroom to teach ‘live’ early in the pandemic cycle. I did this of my own choice as I needed to be ‘face-to-face with all my students except it has been a long haul of ‘mask-to-mask.’ There are several semesters worth of students out there that I never got to see their faces and would not recognize today. Several of this evening’s performers I have not seen ‘face-to-face’ until recently. This dance looks at what two years of masked education and socialization have done to us as a community. I am not making a political statement but rather enjoying more than ever seeing faces again!”

Instructional Assistant Professor of Dance Kaley Pruitt’s piece, titled Days Like This, describes her piece as a “choose your own adventure dance.” Pruitt adds, “With this work, I’m actually exploring audience interaction that determines the order and what content of the piece is performed. The dancers have nine sections prepared, but in any given performance only six of those will be performed. The dancers stop and ask the audience questions by asking them to raise their hands for one of two options presented. The answer the audience chooses determines which section will be performed next. So, no show will be exactly the same and if you see it more than once, you’ll likely see it performed differently.”

In addition, there will be pieces choreographed by two guest artists, Hurry Up and Wait by Sara Semonis and When it rains, it pours by Morgan “Mo” Williams, who is the artistic director of Water Street Dance of Milwaukee.

Tickets for Emergence can be purchased in person at the Center for the Performing Arts Box Office Monday–Friday, 11 a.m.–5 p.m., or online.  Masks are highly encouraged but not required for the duration of the performance.