Dance Finds a Home in Theatre Arts

A mixed bag of dance styles and music will be on display next month during the UTA Dance Ensemble’s annual fall show.

The shows will be held at 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 5, and Saturday, Dec. 6, and at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 7, in the Mainstage Theatre in the Fine Arts Building.

Director Danielle Marie Georgiou said the show’s theme is “Nothing Good Happens After Midnight” and that student dancers and choreographers will explore the “dark side of human nature” through modern dance, hip hop, tap and jazz styles. Joining the 30 UTA student dancers are four guest artists, including current student Gabriel King (’13), Shelley Ohmes (‘10), Curtis Green and tap choreographer Samantha Ellis (‘14).

Georgiou said she’s excited she was able to include dancers from her professional company, DGDG (the Danielle Georgiou Dance Group), to push the level of professionalism and technique among the student dancers and choreographers.

Of course, students and organizers of the UTA Dance Ensemble have plenty of reason to move these days: the program recently transitioned from the Department of Kinesiology to the Department of Theatre Arts, boosting the newly formed musical theatre degree plan. Georgiou said the move will help Liberal Arts majors be competitive after graduation.

“This makes a huge difference,” she said. “Dance belongs in theatre; the two are integral components of one another. Especially when it comes to musical theatre. To be competitive, you have to offer dance to your students, and this gives our graduates a step up at future auditions.”

Kim LaFontaine, Professor and Department Chair, said the move expands the curriculum for Theatre Arts students.

“We are very excited to have the UTA Dance Ensemble as well as the Dance curriculum as part of our Department,” he said. “The Dance curriculum will positively support our BFA Musical Theatre program and be of service as we develop the Dance Minor.”

While a student at UTA, Georgiou (’06, ’08) was a member, then student leader of the Dance Ensemble. After graduation, she joined the group as Assistant Director, then took over as Director a few years ago. In 2011, she formed her own professional dance company after receiving a commissioning from Teatro Dallas and a successful showing at the National Performance Network’s annual conference.

For Georgiou, the program’s realignment means more opportunities for current students and more recruitment possibilities with talented potential Mavericks.

“Offering technique classes and expanded courses makes our program stronger,” she said. “We’re dancers; we belong on stage. So it makes sense that our home is now in Theatre Arts.”

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(Story by James Dunning/COLA Communications, jdunning@uta.edu)

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