The SHSU dance department will perform “Graceless Grace” on Feb. 26-27. at 8 p.m. in the James and Nancy Gaertner Performing Arts Center Dance Theatre.
This concert is the thesis of Master of Fine Arts candidates Tawnya Kannarr and Miranda Lindberg. The show will be divided into two separate halves, one titled “Graceless Grace,” and the other subtitled, “My Soul Speaks.”
Kannarr, choreographer of the “My Soul Speaks” portion of the show, began to think about and work on her thesis a few years prior to this year, and chose a topic which she felt strongly about. She wanted to see if varied levels of communication she had with her dancers had an impact on the performance and the way they danced.
“We have two different themes based on our separate research,” Kannarr said. “My thesis research deals in the different levels of communication and how those varied levels affect the creative process. The overall title of our show is ‘Graceless Grace,’ but my half is subtitled ‘My Soul Speaks.’”
Given that thesis concerts are an important step in a dance student’s career, Kannarr wasted no time when it came time to prepare and form ideas about what she wanted to create.
“Our research began at the end of the last spring semester,” Kannarr said. “My choreographic work has been evolving toward my thesis for the last two years. I even brought back a work that I first choreographed six years ago and reset it on one of my dancers. However, my concentrated thesis rehearsals began at the beginning of last fall semester.”
There are a total of seven dancers and one understudy who will perform in the thesis concert, and Kannarr has found it enjoyable to work with them.
“My girls and I have been working on and off together for a while now,” Kannarr said. “It’s been a blast working with them. We always spend half of our rehearsals laughing, which honestly helps me think better as a choreographer.”
Despite all of the laughter and creative visions, every show must have its challenges, and it is no different for Kannarr.
“The biggest challenge for me has been finding the connection between all of my work,” Kannarr said. “My research has evolved a lot and spun in many different directions. Finding a way for my work to blend together in the right way and correlate with my research has been difficult.”
Kannarr was able to make it through the challenges she faced, and is grateful to work and choreograph for the talented dancers in her show. She sees this thesis as the culmination of everything she loves.
“We are excited to finally just get on stage,” Kannarr said. “As part of my research, I haven’t had any vocal or in-person communication with one of my soloists, so the first time she gets to work with the girls and myself starts next week as we begin tech for the show.”
The title “My Soul Speaks” is a suitable one, seeing as how Kannarr was inspired by emotions that a typical person feels throughout life and communication of those emotions.
“My half of the show is about all these emotions that a person faces and how it is through these emotions that we learn to communicate with one another,” Kannarr said.
The basis of this half of the show will be about communication, or lack thereof, through human emotion and feelings that are experienced every day.
“What I hope the audience gets from my half of the show is that it is okay to show your emotions,” Kannarr said. “We all have them, and whether or not you are aware of it, you communicate through and by your emotions every day.”
This event is open to the public and admission is free.