SRU Dance Theatre to present original student works Dec. 9-10


Women Dancing

Twenty-four original works by Slippery Rock University students will be performed at SRU’s Dance Theatre Fall Concert, Dec. 9-10 at the Swope Music Hall, including the classical Indian style of Bharatanatyam.

Nov. 30, 2017

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - The inspirations that will give way to the dances performed at Slippery Rock University's Dance Theatre Fall Concert are as varied as the dancers themselves, ranging from a group performing a 4,000-year-old Indian dance classical style, to a solo performance with a title borrowed from a Google workplace policy. But what the dances have in common is what makes the concert special: they are all original works produced by students.

Natalie Goforth


SRUDT will host its annual fall concert, Dec. 9-10 at the Swope Music Hall, with two distinct programs at 2 p.m. each day, followed by an encore of the day's earlier performance at 5 p.m.

"For some of the choreographers, this is the culmination of their creating and rehearsing to have it performed in a formal concert," said Nola Nolen, associate professor of dance and the concert's production coordinator. "It shows the excellence with which our students choreograph and perform."

Twelve original works choreographed by students will be performed each day with more than 60 performers contributing. All the pieces were selected from the SRUDT's adjudication concert, with the exception of 22 students performing the classical Indian style of Bharatanatyam they learned from their World Dance course, taught by Jaya Mani, instructor of dance.

"The dance style has feminine and masculine type of movements," said Mani, whose daughter, Deepa Mani, a graduate student in SRU's physician assistant program, choreographed the piece that will be performed Dec. 10. "It's just movements; there are no expressions or emotions involved."

Two male dancers will perform the masculine role, or "Tandava," and up to 22 females will perform the feminine, or "Lasya" role. The title of the piece is "Nritta," which is a repertoire of Bharatanatyam that is abstract, fast and rhythmic. Bharatanatyam is considered the oldest classical dance tradition of India.

Performances selected from SRUDT's adjudication concert include a solo, modern jazz piece called "20 Percent" by Natalie Goforth, a senior double major in early childhood-special education and dance from Avon, Ohio. Goforth combined her two passions, dance and education, as she will play the role of a distracted child in a classroom using creative movements.

The title is inspired by an assignment in her Positive Behavior Strategies course with Jeremy Lynch, associate professor of special education, where students had to spend 20 percent of class working on a project that exhibits their creativity.

"Everyone picked something that they could put their creative focus on," Goforth said. "Since I'm also a dance major this was the perfect time for me to create something that incorporates both my majors."

This same "20 percent time" policy was made popular by Google, which had its employees spend time for creative endeavors, or passion projects, that they think would most benefit the company.

The idea of revealing one's creative work in a venue like the SRUDT Fall Concert is daunting, yet exciting, according to Goforth.

"You're putting your work out there so you're in such a vulnerable place," Goforth said. "People are seeing your inner thoughts and your creative mind. That is the most rewarding part, showing something that is such a part of yourself."

Admission for the concert is $10 at the door with advanced tickets available for purchase at the Smith Student Center Information Desk or online at

MEDIA CONTACT: Justin Zackal | 724.738.4854 |