‘Conviction’ Brings Dancers and Choreographers throughout the Coastal Bend and Mexico to TAMU-CC for Island Dance Demo

Published: April 19, 2017

‘Conviction’ Brings Dancers and Choreographers throughout the Coastal Bend and Mexico to TAMU-CC for Island Dance Demo

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – What started eleven years ago as a simple recruitment tool for the dance classes at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi has evolved into a full-fledged professional dance production. The Island Dance Demo tantalizes audiences each semester with a broad range of dance productions focused around a single theme. ‘Conviction’ was the theme for the demo this semester, which took place on Wednesday, April 26, in the Performing Arts Center.

“We don’t have too many dance opportunities here in Corpus, so we want to offer rich performances that highlight the talent and tenacity that can be found in our community,” said Jilissa Cotten, Assistant Professor of Dance at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. “We invited choreographers and professionals in the field of dance to come out to work with and encourage these artists as they grow and learn their craft.”

Guest choreographers from the Island University and the Coastal Bend were invited to participate and create dances according to the ever changing theme, making each demo a unique performance and a once in a lifetime experience. This semester, thirteen choreographers, including seven student choreographers, two adjunct choreographers and two local choreographers presented sixteen total dance pieces. The Dance Demo also offered a unique piece titled, “Broken Promises,” which was choreographed by Cristina Goletti from Universidad de las Americas in Puebla, Mexico.

Each choreographer was encouraged to interpret and execute the theme through his or her individual vision. Cotten choreographed three pieces for the demo titled, ‘Water’s Edge,’ ‘Things Aren’t Always Black and White’ and ‘The Conviction of One is the Conviction of Others.’ Another guest choreographer was Sarah Gonzalez, an Islander alumna whose piece was titled, ‘The Inner Workings of a Woman.’

“The way I see ‘Conviction’ is by compelling the admission of a truth,” said Gonzalez. “My piece is a collection of different pathways and ideas of women in their life exploration in the 50s, inspired by my own experience of facing the stigma surrounding being a single mom.”

It takes a tremendous amount of work to bring together a production like this one, including organizing music, lighting, costumes and the order of dance pieces. Cotten believes the Dance Demo is an excellent opportunity for student choreographers to be exposed to the process of coordinating a performance. She says it is a culmination of a semester, and sometimes even years, of work for Island University students.

“A lot of my friends are graduating, and we had the idea that we would do one last dance piece together,” said Sierra Priest, a junior Theatre major in the College of Liberal Arts, a dancer in the show and student choreographer who created the piece titled, ‘Thank You.’ “We’re just a big family of brothers and sisters doing something together and that’s the best thing in the world. I’m excited about the show because that will be the only time we ever perform the piece, and we’re just going to leave it all out on the stage together.”

To learn more about the Island Dance Demo and other dance events at the Island University, visit http://cla.tamucc.edu/theatre/events/dancedemo.html