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Undergraduate Students Teach at Stephen F. Austin University Dance Workshop

In performance one never knows where they may find inspiration. For B.F.A. in Dance candidates, Lisa Kobdish and Mariclaire Gamble, it all started with YouTube. "We were attracted to a video where middle aged men slapped high fives and then looked towards the camera,” Kobdish said. From that video, the students collaborated to create High Five Jive, an original dance work exploring the motifs of gesturing the high five.

The piece first premiered as a three-minute dance in spring 2008 as part of the student group, Dance Action's bi-annual production, S.E.E.D. (Students Exhibiting Experimental Dance). Following the SEED performance, Kobdish and Gamble were invited to perform in the Dance Repertory Theatre (DRT) Fall Showing. The women lengthened the piece to seven minutes and from the showing were asked to present at the American College Dance Festival.

The American College Dance Festival (ACDF) is a regional showing of college and university work. Over forty pieces are presented throughout the event and a small number were selected to remount in the Gala performance. "We received an overwhelming response," notes Gamble, "The themes explored in High Five [Jive], at first glance, may appear strange or offensive in the context of ACDF. When our piece and the other UT student's (Megan Rushing) piece were chosen for the Gala, we were honored."

In the weeks following ACDF, Kobdish and Gamble received a call from Stan Bobo, professor of Dance at Stephen F. Austin State University (SFA) offering the two an opportunity to teach a workshop at the University. When Bobo had solicited his students about whom they would like to host as guest artists, the majority inquired about procuring the High Five Jive choreographers. As a result, Kobdish and Gamble will travel to Nagodoches, Texas for two weekends this month where they will remount the piece with the SFA dancers. As an additional component of the residency, SFA will host an open rehearsal.

For Kobdish, High Five Jive could have only happened in an environment where student work is encouraged. She explains, "The faculty at UT has provided tremendous support for showcasing student work. Their commitment at every step of this process help maintain our integrity and purpose in this piece."

Thursday, October 22, 2009