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The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Final day of Brown Bag Dance Series showcases student dancers original works

Dancers from the Meadows School of the Arts performed Thursday in the lobby of the Owen Fine Arts Center, as a part of the bi-annual Brown Bag Dance Series. Today is the last day to see the student-choreographed and produced pieces from noon to 1 p.m. in the Meadows School.
Jordan Chlapecka
Dancers from the Meadows School of the Arts performed Thursday in the lobby of the Owen Fine Arts Center, as a part of the bi-annual Brown Bag Dance Series. Today is the last day to see the student-choreographed and produced pieces from noon to 1 p.m. in the Meadows School.

Dancers from the Meadows School of the Arts performed Thursday in the lobby of the Owen Fine Arts Center, as a part of the bi-annual Brown Bag Dance Series. Today is the last day to see the student-choreographed and produced pieces from noon to 1 p.m. in the Meadows School. (Jordan Chlapecka)

The Meadows School of the Arts will host the final Brown Bag performance of the semester at noon in the main lobby of the Owen Fine Art Center on Friday.

The 13 performances are meant to be a fun experience for viewers, and the performers and choreographers spend weeks leading up to the performances to get ready.

Because so many students want to choreograph, the dance faculty uses an adjudication process to choose the lineup; the student choreographers hold an audition for their piece and afterward have multiple weeks to work on it until they present it to the dance faculty, who votes on the combination of pieces they think will make the best show.

Once the choreographers are chosen, they are able to choose the dancers they believe will best represent their piece. The dancers attend hours of rehearsal, usually four or more times a week, to prepare for the debut of their assigned dances.

Throughout the entire process, more than 40 dancers, choreographers and crew members become involved in making the Brown Bag performances a success.

The satisfaction members gain from this performance stems from their ability to show off the university’s dance program.

“My favorite part about Brown Bag is it gives other types of students at SMU the ability to see what the dance program is like, and how elite the dancers at SMU are,” first-year dancer and Brown Bag performer Danielle Storey said.

Brown Bag performances also allow the students to perform their favorite or most inspirational forms of dance that are normally not in the curriculum. Cultural dance, tap dance, ballet, jazz and hip-hop are a few among the lineup seen each day of the Brown Bag performance week.

“We don’t get to take tap or hip-hop class in our dance curriculum, but you will definitely see those styles on the Brown Bag stage,” Storey said. “It helps keep our dancers diverse and keeps their creative flows alive.”

Head of Brown Bag performances and jazz teacher Danny Buraczeski dedicates a lot of his time to ensure SMU dancers get a chance to have their choreography hit the stage. The show allows dance majors to begin choreographing early on in their dance careers at SMU, enabling the progressive advancement of artistry and creativity within the students.

Danielle Storey performs in sophomore dancer Paige Leahy’s piece called “Suite Sweet,” a jazz piece done in the same style as a famous Broadway choreographer who choreographed for “Damn Yankees” and “Chicago,” among other Broadway shows.

Leahy and other dance students chosen to choreograph have an opportunity often unavailable at other universities.

“That is what’s so great about Brown Bag; a dancer like Paige can take a style of dance that truly inspires him or her and create a number that entertains and expresses their own personal creativity,” Storey said.

In most university dance programs, students are unable to choreograph until their junior or senior year. However, a student of any age is invited to choreograph for the Brown Bag Series.

Brown Bag performances occur once a semester, allowing the dancers to prepare and participate in a form of dance absent from the usual dance curriculum twice a year.

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