Dance students to ‘Accelerate’ through ensembles this weekend

Lauryn Haas

Movement through dance can be a powerful medium for issues and conversations that demand attention but fall short when expressed through words.  

UK’s Department of Dance and Theater will present its seventh annual dance concert, “Accelerate.” Six choreographed dances will be performed, and each introduces its own commentary on a variety of topics, including the pursuit of happiness, how to find your own voice, a reflection of individual rights, adapting to new surroundings, the preservation of humanity and sexual assault.

Director of Dance Susie Thiel explains the choreographer selection process as a search for “creative processes to provide a variety of experiences as well as an eclectic concert for the audience.”

A mix of faculty choreographers and guest artists typically choreograph the show. Summation Dance Company from New York City was chosen this year to aid in the creation of the performances, but someone a little closer to home was chosen as well. Accelerate is the first dance concert to feature a piece by a student, Kye Miller.

“Although our program always provides student choreography opportunities, this is the first time a student dance is featured in our annual dance concert,” Thiel said. “Having a student piece in the concert sheds light on what our students are researching, working on and creating.”

Miller is a third-year double major in computer science and dance who started her formal dance training when she arrived at UK. Her piece, “Remove Permission,” explores the concept of sexual assault.

“I developed this piece following a research project on the subject of rape culture in a communication class my freshman year,” Miller said. “My piece focuses on the experience of a victim, post-trauma.”

Miller, along with the other performers, went through an audition process in September. Rehearsal started after auditions and went through December. Final preparations are made the beginning of the spring term leading up to the performance.

The dance concert has been performed by students within the university’s dance program since 2011, but the addition of the BA dance program in Fall 2017 has stimulated additional excitement and enthusiasm for the production. This year’s show includes both dance minors and dance majors.