SRU dancers present original works at Dec. 10-11 concerts


Savannah McCartney dance major

Savannah McCartney, a dance major from Moundsville, West Virginia, will present original choreography with her piece, “Influences,” during Slippery Rock University Dance Theater’s Dec. 10-11 Fall Concert at Swope Music Hall.

Dec. 1, 2016

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Twenty-nine Slippery Rock University dance majors are stepping into what will surely be a "December to remember," as they put the finishing touches on choreography they will present during the Dec. 10-11 Dance Theater Fall Concerts at Swope Music Hall.

The presentations, at 2 and 5 p.m. both days, will feature a variety of dance styles, including: tap, modern and Indian.

According to participating students, inspiration has been drawn from a variety of sources - faculty mentorship; personal stories; and current events - including the protests surrounding the planned construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota.

Savannah McCartney, a dance major from Moundsville, West Virginia, drew upon personal mentors in creating a modern dance entitled, "Influences."

"This piece is inspired by all of the people who have influenced my dance career and where I am today," she said. "From Merce Cunningham, a pioneer of postmodern dance, to the (dance) studio owners back home."

McCartney said she has been rehearsing her solo choreography for six weeks, realizing what a golden opportunity the dance department provided.

"Not many universities offer students the chance to audition for a piece, choreograph, conduct rehearsals and show their work on stage," she said.

Each concert will offer 10 works that junior and senior dance majors developed during the fall semester. Finalists will present their works during the Feb. 4 Winter Concert.

While the Dec. 10 concert will feature the same dances at both the 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. performances, the Dec. 11 show will present different works during each show. Students in a repertory classes taught by Teena Custer, instructor of dance, will perform "Quake" as the finale of both Dec. 11 concerts.

"We studied the roles of shamans in various societies and religions around the world," Custer said. "We looked at how movement and dance can be an integral part of healing ourselves and others during this time of political and social unrest, and how various street dance techniques can be used as the modality by which this can be achieved."

Natalie Goforth, a dance and early childhood/special education major from Avon, Ohio, who titled her piece "Cause and Effect," themed the choreography around citizen protests, such as that going on in North Dakota where the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and their allies fear the pipeline could contaminate the Missouri River.

She said the process of researching and preparing her piece is "a crazy amount of work and very consuming, but at the same time, incredibly rewarding.

"Most choreographers extensively research their topic or theme and then take that knowledge into the rehearsal process that spans months. I was inspired to create my piece from watching local news coverage ... drawing inspiration from not only the story, but the people and what they were fighting for."

Tickets, $6 for students and $9 for the general public, are available at the Smith Student Center Information Desk and online at:

MEDIA CONTACT: Gordon Ovenshine | 724.738.4854 |