Dance alumni to perform in reunion concert

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If students are looking for a way to spend their first long weekend back at school, they can spend part of it enjoying the art and talent of the performances that current Sam Houston State University dance majors as well as dance alumni have prepared for their two concerts this weekend.

The SHSU Dance Department has produced hundreds of dancers over the years whom have gone on to dance in the professional world, still learning and growing in their craft.

Graduating from the dance department at SHSU does not mean saying goodbye forever. The SHSU Dance Alumni Association provides a way for past students to connect with current dance students and to teach and share experiences.

This weekend there will be an alumni concert performed on campus. The concert is one part of a weekend-long event, the Alumni Reunion Weekend.

Professor David Deveau, who has just taken over as the Dance Alumni Association’s President said the upcoming concert is different than years past.

“One of the main social events of the year is our Alumni Reunion Weekend,” Deveau said. “That weekend will see 14 master classes taught, two concerts produced and a whole lot of social time between [alumni] and current students. What is exciting about this year is that we have taken what used to be one concert, our Alumni Reunion Concert, and split it into two separate shows.”

Deveau said the department is changing things up with the reunion concert this year.

“Saturday night’s concert will still be called the Alumni Reunion Concert but will only showcase works featuring college age or professional dancers,” Deveau said. “We are adding a Saturday show that we are calling the Alumni Student Concert and that will feature younger dancers either in studio or high school.”

Deveau said the new format will be more beneficial for the process of the weekend.

“We feel moving to this new format will allow us to accommodate more works and help the organization have more of an appeal to both alumni attending and audience members,” Deveau said.

Deveau said the audience can expect many types of dance performed at this weekend’s concert.

“Between the two concerts the audience can expect to see a well rounded variety of works in Contemporary/Modern, Ballet, Tap and Jazz,” Deveau said. “I’ve even heard a few superheroes might be performing on Saturday night.”

Audiences can expect a wide range of dancers performing as well. Deveau estimates around 20 to 30 alumni will perform with room for more as they allow onsite registration.

Deveau believes these concerts will benefit the current dance students.

“The students really enjoy having the alums come back and teach and perform,” Deveau said. “They get really excited about their future in the organization and it’s just a great way to give back to SHSU.”

Deveau hopes the current students are able to take much away from this weekend.

“I hope they are inspired to challenge themselves while they are here and have the luxury of just focusing on their craft,” Deveau said. “They definitely get a dose of real world problems seeing how the [alumni] move on from here while still keeping dance as a vital part of their lives.”

Deveau hopes not only the students but the audiences also take something valuable away from these concerts.

“I hope they take away what they usually take away from all of our concerts and that is a sense of pride at the level of production value and talent that this department offers and has offered for a long time,” Deveau said. “Our goal as a department is to produce highly intelligent artists and I think that is apparent after viewing the show. “

The Alumni Association Reunion Weekend runs this weekend with the Alumni Reunion Concert on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and the Alumni Student Concert on Sunday at 3 p.m., both in the Gaertner Performing Arts Center Dance Theater.

For more information and to purchase tickets for the concert, contact the dance department at 936-294-1588.