“In Flight” to illustrate the diversity of theater


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Morgan Smith

The upcoming “In Flight” dance concert by the UK Department of Theatre and Dance has been spreading its wings, and is almost ready to soar into performance.

The concert is made up of five unique dance numbers that run one after the other. Each number is the work of a different choreographer, and a guest artist was even brought in from Rhode Island College to create one section of the show. 

“We do this every year. We bring in somebody different that our students have never worked with before,” said Susan Thiel, artistic director and choreographer for the concert. “This year we had Jessica Pearson. She came in from the University of Rhode Island, and set an eight-minute dance in four days. The dancers worked about sixteen to twenty hours that week.” 

The show will be performed by students in the UK Dance Program, most of whom are working toward attaining a minor in dance. According to Thiel, over seventy dance minors are in the program, including at least one from every college on campus.

While one might not expect an engineering major and a dance minor to mix, the opposite seems to be true for Thiel and her students. A dance minor gives non-art majors an opportunity to express themselves and enhance their creativity. 

“It brings to rehearsals and choreography this really interesting outlook on life,” Thiel said. “They’re creating dances from all kinds of mindsets outside of just ‘I’m in a studio.’ They’re not dancing all day, like at most dance programs, so they’re always so excited to see each other and get into rehearsal. They’re fresh every single time we see them.”

Just like the dancers, the show itself will have a little bit of everything.

Anthony Alterio is a choreographer for one of the five dances in the show. His piece for “In Flight” is titled FEEDBAG, and it features many elements and props intended to make the audience question themselves and their surroundings

“It’s got unicorns, actual horse feedbags, marshmallows, and a mannequin that we named Eric,” Alterio said. “Someone once told me that my motto should be ‘mess is more’ instead of ‘less is more’ and I have totally latched on to that and ran with it.” 

The idea for the piece came about from research Alterio had been doing on American anti-gay propaganda, specifically a broadcast by Mike Wallace that described how gay individuals were seen in America in the fifties. 

“I had a conversation with my cast about that [broadcast] and it turned into something more,” Alterio said. “So the piece now is about getting comfortable with being uncomfortable. I want the audience to take away what they want. I want them to question my work. I just want people to start a conversation. That’s what I love about dance and art and that’s why I wanted to do this.” 

“In Flight” will run on Jan. 27 and 28 at 7:30 p.m. and on Jan. 29 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $15 for the general public and $10 for students.


What: In Flight

When: Jan. 27 and 28 at 7:30 p.m.; Jan. 29 at 2 p.m.

Where: Guignol Theatre in the Fine Arts Building

Tickets: $10 students, $15 general public. Tickets can be purchased from the Singletary Center.