Seniors shine one last time at final dance recital

Dance+majors+performed+at+their+senior+recital+on+April+5+and+6.

Photo courtesy of OU Magazine

Dance majors performed at their senior recital on April 5 and 6.

Arianna Heyman, Features Editor

Four years of hard work paid off for the Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) dance majors this past week. On April 5 and 6, the seniors in the dance program at Oakland University performed their senior recital at Detroit Country Day School. 

“The performance has a wide array of movement vocabulary and stylistic choices, but the pieces share something in common — a small part of each choreographer is left on the stage,” senior Maddie Parker says. “Everything from the music to costumes to lighting is spectacularly unique, but that is what makes the show enjoyable and easy to watch. No two pieces are alike in that sense, but they all are unified by the fact that the seniors, no matter what they have gone through, have somehow made it to the end together.” 

The recital was a culmination of six group works and six solos. The senior recital is different from other shows because it does not feature faculty work or guest artists. 

“I would describe the Senior Dance Recital as a true cultivation of what each senior has learned and applied over the last four years,” senior Madisyn Boussie says. “Not only this, but I would describe the show as a true insight in terms of what the next generation of young artists has to offer and showcases each individual style that the seniors have worked so hard to develop over the last four years.

The seniors have spent months working on their routines to ensure perfection as this was the last opportunity they had to showcase the skills and artistry they have gained throughout their time in the program. 

“Each piece was crafted from September through March, and each senior received feedback from a specific faculty member within the dance department to help fine tune their choreography and get guidance or suggestions when stuck,” Parker says. “They each worked with their cast of dancers to build the piece and rehearsed weekly throughout the school year to get the piece performance ready.” 

The weekly rehearsals went beyond simply perfecting the technical aspects of the dances. Each senior choreographer holds at least one rehearsal per week — each lasting anywhere from one to two hours. 

According to Boussie, the rehearsal process was demanding, yet rewarding. 

“While the actual rehearsal process may seem short, the choreographers work endlessly outside of rehearsal times to create choreography, find and prepare music scores, design costuming and more,” Boussie says.While all of these tasks are very demanding — it is so rewarding to walk into rehearsals each week and see our own work come to life. It is also a very vulnerable experience, as through our work, the seniors are sharing their most vulnerable emotional perspectives with our peers and faculty members.”

The recital was also a chance for reflection for the seniors as they relished in the bittersweet moment. 

“The group piece that I choreographed, ‘Away with Myself,’ meant a lot to me, and I asked my cast to be vulnerable and to allow me to be vulnerable with them,” Parker says. “When I was watching them perform the piece for the last time, I was actually sobbing backstage because of what the piece and process meant to me. I was able to reminisce about my time in the program and how far I had come. It’s sad to think about leaving, but I know that I’m ready for what’s to come.”