If anyone knows about hard work, it has to be the dance students who are striving to earn their master’s degree. Not only do they have to complete a thorough thesis project, which includes an understanding of choreography, they have to write an original 20-minute choreographic presentation in which the thesis committee scrutinizes for its artistic effort.
It is especially hard when two students are presenting their theses in a joint effort concert, and one of them is a full-time faculty member at a different university.
Golden Wright and Alice Howes are just two of the many graduate students who are working on their dance theses, but they certainly stand out when it comes to what they are trying to corroborate. In efforts to complete their MFA Projects, they have organized a concert of their works, with one piece each counting towards their required choreography presentation.
The concert will be Friday, Feb. 9 and Saturday, Feb. 10 at 8 p.m. in AB III and will feature several of their works.
Golden Wright will be presenting his part of the concert called “Convergence,” which entails three dances. One is done in complete silence, another features a pianist playing live and the third is to a song called “Breathing Light.”
“The music is generally something I add later in the process,” said Wright. “I try to find something that compliments the movement style.”
Golden Wright has a background in ballet and has worked with technical theatre for the SHSU dance program. He hopes to capture these two areas in his thesis.
“My inspiration comes from a background in technical theater and dance,” said Wright. “The two seem to be segmented; one does not see the other until the week of the show. I feel that you should try and use these together to find new inspiration.”
Golden Wright and his dancers have had a very busy schedule trying to get organized for the concert, starting in the fall of last year to be fully prepared.
“My dancers and I meet three to four times a week for about three hours each rehearsal. This schedule started in September and will continue through the end of the concert,” said Wright.
Wright’s concert partner, Alice Howes, is part of a pilot study to see if the MFA dance project could be carried out from a distance and has the challenge of creating her part of the concert while being a full-time faculty member at Lamar University in Beaumont.
Howes’ thesis is completely different from Wright’s and it’s obvious in the name: “Making Messages Integrating American Sign Language and Modern Dance.” Howes hopes to capture sign language in the form of movement and modern dance on stage.
“We are both trying to find our own inspiration and movement,” said Howes. “My inspiration is sign language.”
While Wright is focusing more on technical theatre in his part of the concert, Howes will use modern dance to visually perform sign language.
“It was a very long process,” said Howes. “For instance, we have to take text or poetry, translate it into sign language and then make choreography from that.”
So far Howes and Wright have only been corresponding through phone and e-mail since she is a faculty member at Lamar and are working on their parts of the concert separately.
“We haven’t worked together yet,” said Howes. “We each have been doing our own section of the concert and will put it together later. Then there is the little stuff; I have responsibility for the programs and things like that while Wright is dealing more with the technical stuff.”
Even more trying is the fact that she is so far away and has to put together a concert while tending to her responsibilities at her school.
“It is a lot of work trying to put this concert together. I have a lot of responsibilities,” said Howes. “But I have my dancers here that I can also work with.”
For her thesis, Howes is using dancers from her own school. Students auditioned in the fall to be in the dance company and then she chose which ones she wanted to be in her thesis.
Aside from the many differences in the two masters student’s techniques, the concert hopes to inspire the audience with their appreciation for movement and the uniqueness of their styles.