By Shane Barnes
For the past nine weeks, Katie Brent has been feverish working on a project that will encapsulate everything she's done in the past four years as student in the School of Dance. Her performance will be one of 19 at this weekend's Senior Dance Concert, which will showcase the talent and work of each senior dance student at Ohio University.
"This performance is a bookmark for my life," said Brent, a Cleveland native. "If I look back two years ago, there's no way I would have been able to do all of this. Everything I've learned is being showcased in this performance."
The concert comprises 19 performances that are split into two separate shows, one playing after the other from Nov. 13-15 at the Shirley Wimmer Dance Theatre in Putnam Hall. The shows will be at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. on Thursday and Friday. On Saturday, performances will be at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Each of the performances -- either solo or ensemble pieces -- is choreographed, auditioned, rehearsed and produced by the students, who also work on everything from publicity fliers to stage lighting. For many of the students, handling all of these aspects is the most difficult professional undertaking of their lives.
"In addition to working with all of the production elements, we're put into a leadership position for the first time and are working with dancers of all different experience levels, forcing us to really utilize all of our talents," Brent said.
Aside from the technical aspect, each of the performances has a different theme. Brent's focuses on the way different colors interact, such as in a kaleidoscope. Another student, Julie Van Zant of Glen Ellyn, Ill., will be focusing on obsession and the affect it can have on people's lives. In addition to seeing the process as a learning experience, Van Zant sees it as a chance to break out creatively.
"All of our lives, we've been following directions and performing things that other people want us to perform. Now I'm in charge and can do something exciting that I want to do," said Van Zant, adding that going from dancer to leader is "different from anything [she's] ever done, a complete turnaround of roles."
Tickets are $6 for general admission. Ohio University students receive free admission through Arts for Ohio.