“New Growth” dance recital provides Black power

During the Alabama State University department of theater and dance fall performance, “New Growth,” this dancer extends her foot effortlessly in the air to insinuate the calm before the storm.”

During the Alabama State University department of theater and dance fall performance, “New Growth,” this dancer extends her foot effortlessly in the air to insinuate the calm before the storm.”

Micah Sanders, Editor-In-Chief

With pointed toes, high leaps, and highly spirited acrobats, the Alabama State University department of theater and dance’s fall concert, “New Growth,” showcased a tremendous amount of talent. Held in the Leila Barlow Theater for a three-day session, Oct. 14-16, students, faculty and staff were welcomed to attend. The one-hour performance showcased numerous dancers, various styles of dance, cinematic themes, and messages that speak true to the African American community.

“New Growth” was the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic that the students could perform for a live audience. Tickets were $6 for students and $12 for regular attendees.

Filled to capacity, the auditorium lit up with thunderous applause as the lights dimmed for the first act. 

The empowering and breath-taking performance of “Resilient Fury,” choreographed by Jerome Nuney Stigler provided sharp and contrasting moves filled with emotion. The bright red lighting and the dancers’ intricate shapes and movements made the performance extremely intense while instilling a sense of women empowerment and pride. The dance floor consisted of eight women, who brought their individual personality, style, and flavor to the routine. 

Choreographed by the associate professor of dance, James R. Atkinson Jr., “E-Merge” submerged its audience into a peaceful and calm essence of blueness. Both the dark and mystical blue background lighting and costumes complemented each other, while the choreography consisted of male and female dance partners. With the strong and hardy dance moves from the gentlemen, and the grace and elegance of the women dancers, this performance provided a tidal wave of excellence. Near the end of the performance, all of the dancers culminated together, creating different shapes and images, being in sync with each other and the music, leaving the audience amazed as the cheers and applause once again filled the room. 

Draped with several silky red cloths, “Undefined” transported its audience into a Cirque du Soleil-esque show. Choreographed and costume designed by guest artist Courtney D. Coleman, the performance showcased numerous talented aerialists who climbed the silks high in the air and performed aerobatics and poses mid-air while the dancers performed around the main act. This goosebumps enabling performance was extremely successful in invoking its messaging of sincerity and passion within the audience while a large burst of cheering broke the silence as one aerialist climbed all the way to the top of the silk cloth and flew down like an elegant dove. 

A collaborative and powerful finale, “Parade” showcased a large sum of dancers all wearing black dancing to Black Parade by Beyonce. This piece was choreographed by Lenard Foust, highlighting and featuring each dancer’s artistic style as several of the dancers had solos within the performance. Highly energetic throughout the number, the crowd was fully invested as they swayed back and forth with the dancers as they explored and visualized a parade. 

Overall, the production explored the musical compositions of the Kronos Quartet, Celia Wa, Todrick Hall, Brandy Rayana Norwood, Grace Jones, Duke Ellington, and many more. 

Atkinson believes the “New Growth” concert provided his students the growth and expansion of their talents during the pandemic. 

“There has been a loss in all forms; however, many have experienced new points of growth in new areas of life and have experienced new points of growth in new areas of line and have also had time to cultivate some of the new growths,” Atkinson said. 

For students interested in BFA’s next dance recital, the department of theatre and dance will host “Slamm’in: Our Lives in Verse” on November 12 and 13 at Leila Barlow Theatre. The admission is $2 with a donation of a can good.