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LMU Dancers Spring to Life in “Animate!”

Loyola Marymount University’s Strub Theatre was vibrant with dancing during “Animate!” on April 21 through 24. The third annual student-run production featured 50 students as dancers, choreographers, publicists, costumers and in several behind-the-scenes roles.

“We’re giving them a taste of what they’re going to be doing [after graduation],” said Chad Michael Hall, director of the show and assistant professor of theater and dance. “It’s a hands-on approach to seeing what it really takes to produce your own work.”

The ten numbers were selected from work by students enrolled in a year-long choreography workshop taught by Hall. Students auditioned at the end of the fall semester and those who made the cut spent the spring semester rehearsing their numbers. Each student choreographer also received special rehearsal time with faculty members.

“The students are living up to the higher standards we’re asking of them,” Hall said. “They’re really digging into themselves and their craft, and working outside of their individual comfort zones.”

Paul Vickers, a freshman dance major, choreographed a solo piece, “…hit me.” He said the dance explored what it’s like to be in an abusive relationship, whether physical or emotional abuse. “Dance is visual, and sometimes there are no words to express what you’re feeling. The audience views it, interprets it and will tell as many stories as there are people in the audience.”

Page Cerchiara, a sophomore dance and humanities double major, agreed with Vickers about the transformative power of dance. She choreographed “Refract5,” which she said examined the mind of a victim of sexual assault that has split into five distinct states in order to recover.

“Dance is a universal way of communicating. It’s about real feelings that can’t always be analyzed. You just have to feel it,” Cerchiara said.

Hall came up with the idea of “Animate!” while reminiscing about comic book covers and the specific font the titles were printed in. “Animate means to inspire, bring to life, quicken,” Hall said. “My hope is that the students brought their creative visions to life through this concert.”

Posted April 26, 2010