Olney Edmondson, a graduate of Sam Houston State University, presented her graduate thesis concert, “Perpetual Essence,” on Feb. 13-14 in Academic Building III.
Although she graduated from University of Maryland, Baltimore County with a degree in dance, Edmondson did not change her major from computer science until her senior year. Edmondson states she simply “couldn’t stop moving.” When she was eight-years-old, her mother placed her in a dance studio until she was 14, where she discovered her passion to perform.
Though Edmondson was not in a studio for the next four years, she self-taught herself hip-hop by feeling the rhythm of the music in her living room while watching music videos of Michael Jackson and other artists. In 2003, Edmondson’s life took a different course. She became a follower of Christ and joined Alpha Nu Omega, Inc, a Christian sorority. From that point on she said everything moved forward, and the results of this new direction and hard work were revealed during “Perpetual Essence.”
Preparing for the concert began in the fall 2008 semester and continued until only days before the performance. The first half of “Perpetual Essence” consisted of Edmondson’s personal works. The first piece, “Motion Equals,” was choreographed in 2008 with the inspiration from the motion she had recently discovered. The second piece, Edmondson said, is just a hip-hop, “havin fun” kind of dance. With the third, “Alpha Nu Omega Sorority, Inc.,” Edmondson, desired to introduce the art of stepping to her audience. They joined together and showed viewers the artistic, yet fun, nature of stepping, as well as their strong faith in God and sisterhood with each other.
The second half of “Perpetual Essence” held the requirements that Edmondson was assigned to display. She fused miming and stepping with contemporary dance. The last piece in the presentation, “Beat Keepers” was simply outstanding in choreography and was performed without error. Edmondson said that this piece was on “interesting journey – a pathway from beginning to the end.” The choreography and form of the piece took on a new shape over time.
The performance itself was carried out with excellence, captivating those watching. Yet even more than the creative choreography, Edmondson’s passion for her faith shone through during “Perpetual Essence.” After becoming involved in her local church, her desire was to “give the movement back to God.”
Edmondson articulated her beliefs when she said, “Everyday is a form of praise. Be it on stage, in my classroom, or in conversation.”