UO’s annual ‘Dance in Concert’ event takes the stage in March | Arts & Culture
Beginning March 3, the UO School of Music and Dance presents the annual dance in concert, featuring choreography created by faculty alongside guest professional artists.
Attendees will love the captivating mix of dance and music that takes place right here in Eugene at the Dougherty Dance Theatre. This showcase has been in the works since the students auditioned during the fall term and gave them the opportunity to work with a variety of different designers.
Shannon Mockli, featured in this year’s showcase, has been a dance teacher at the University of Oregon for about 13 years and primarily teaches contemporary dance and ballet.
“In the concert, there is a wide range of styles. Each choreographer draws on their root dance forms to create expressive and original new works,” Mockli said.
This year, she choreographed the piece “Sometimes It’s Hard To See The Stars,” which includes three tracks from Radiohead‘s album “KID A.” Mockli explained how her piece is reflective, goes back in time, and was somewhat inspired by Radiohead.
“I had heard a podcast from Reveal, and that podcast really struck me as it looks at the making of that album in 2001,” Mockli said.
She explained that her students are now the same age as she was when Radiohead originally released the album. “It’s really an interesting kind of connection, thinking about the passage of time and generations,” Mockli said.
Junior Nailah Lewis highlighted how Assistant Professor Hannah Thomas, who recently joined the School of Music and Dance in 2021, gave students the opportunity to add their own style in her contemporary hip-hop piece titled “and not weak”. Lewis explained how during rehearsals Thomas allowed students to create their own solos and improvise. She then integrated these solos into the choreography.
“The community that I feel like she’s already built has been amazing. Now working with her as a choreographer is the same, it’s still the sense of community,” said Lewis: “When she creates her dances, it’s not just, ‘I create a dance.’ It’s, ‘I work with you. We create a dance. I think that’s what really sets her apart for me.
Isabel Renich, a UO dance major, is a dancer in Professor Brad Garner’s contemporary work, titled“Lux Aeterna.She explained that the piece had a jazzy feel and also featured fast-paced electronic music to match the theme of the piece. This musical selection channels the energy one can feel at a party, we recalling the carefree times before the COVID-19 pandemic.
“In Garner’s article, there are a lot of human connections. He talks about it in rehearsals, that feeling of being in a packed room at a party, or in a club, and just having fun together,” Renich said. “In addition to elements of – what has the pandemic done to this type of environment?”
Mockli recounted how the pandemic last year led dancers to attend classes in 12-by-12-foot squares, limiting in-person login due to security concerns.
After the lack of a live audience while the showcase was livestreamed last year, the opportunity for an in-person audience in March is something students and faculty are all excited for as they share their passion for dance.
“This year is a global difference, where we were able to get rid of our squares. It feels like a move towards connection,” Mockli said.
The UO Dance in Concert takes place March 3-5 at 8 p.m. nightly at the Dougherty Dance Theater. Participants must wear masks and present proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test within the previous three days. Tickets for UO students with proof of ID are $6 and adults $8. Buy your tickets at OU events page.