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The Minnesota Daily

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UMN dance department presents ‘MOVES!’

University of Minnesota students and staff will perform original choreography for the dance department’s spring concert this weekend.

Students, faculty and staff at the University of Minnesota Department of Theatre Arts and Dance will perform their spring concert, “MOVES!” at the Barbara Barker Center for Dance on Saturday and Sunday.

“MOVES!” features contemporary dance excerpts and pieces based on the performers’ lived experiences. Several students will also show their pieces at the American College Dance Association regional conference in Lincoln, Nebraska, in March.

Hina Sasaki is a dance major at the University who will present a piece titled “16-22,” a coming-of-age piece about her struggles growing up and leaving home.

“I really wanted to move away from my family when I was younger, but I just realized that they are supporting me a lot,” Sasaki said.

Sasaki, who grew up dancing as a toddler in Japan, said her piece is influenced by Japanese, Black and Western cultures.

University dance student Vy Nguyen will present a three-part contemporary piece she said will tackle the ways we move through life. Nguyen’s contemporary dance explores control – when we have it, when we don’t and when we surrender the idea of having it.

Nguyen started dancing ballet for the tutus. However, her dedication persisted, and she decided to pursue dance further when she chose to come to the University.

“Seeing the way that the staff and the performers that we got to work with handle themselves and go through life with a dance career, it was just super intriguing to me and made me really want to dive in,” Nguyen said.

One dance performer and guest lecturer, Elayna Waxse, will be showcasing her choreography in an excerpt from a longer piece titled “Swan Song,” which features student dancers at the University. It focuses on how people take care of each other during life transitions, she said.

Waxse created the piece last semester as a visiting artist working with students. Although the piece is autobiographical, Waxse said conversations and journals from students informed the movement.

Dancing ballet as a child into her early career, Waxse has now shifted her focus to contemporary dance, the style of most pieces in the spring concert.

Waxse said she finds it difficult to describe the genre in specific terms.

“Modern dance was in reaction to ballet, contemporary was in reaction to modern,” Waxse said. “There’s no right answer, and it’s not about finding the hidden meaning.”

Nguyen has her own explanation.

“It’s more than just a dance form,” Nguyen said. “It has the basics of ballet techniques and stuff like that, but I like the freedom to break that at any moment.”

Tickets for “MOVE!” are for $8 students and $18 for the general public and are available at the University’s Tickets and Events page. Due to weather, the Friday night performance was canceled, but as of Thursday, the Saturday and Sunday shows will run as planned. Shows will run at 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Saturday and 2 p.m. on Sunday.

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