Immersion: the state of being deeply engaged or involved; absorption. This is the theme of the ORU fall dance concert, which began on Thursday and continues Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. in Howard Auditorium.
Amy McIntosh, concert director and assistant professor of dance, said the concert will be a great opportunity for students to watch their peers perform. The concert is composed of faculty and student pieces with the choreography class creating specific pieces for the concert.
“Our concerts are a range from ballet to contemporary,” McIntosh said. “This semester we have tango.”
Students who wish to perform in the dance concert must go through an audition process, which took place in early September.
Keith Prater, freshman dance major, began dancing at age 8 and said the dance program and God are what brought him to ORU. Though ‘‘Immersion’’ is Prater’s first dance concert at ORU, he’s been dancing professionally in competitions before he came.
Prater said it takes time and patience to put on a dance concert.
“You have to sit through lighting cues,” Prater said. “It takes a lot of energy because they may ask you to do your dance more than once.”
According to Prater, participating in the concert is a long process, and a time commitment. “I’m in two pieces and I’ve been practicing five hours a week since September,” Prater said.
In addition to performing in two pieces, Prater said he is an understudy for another dancer, which means he must also learn that dance routine as if it were his own, in case he needs to perform it.
“[Immersion] means ‘submerged’ or dipped into something,” Prater said. “A lot of the pieces deal with closeness to God and healing.”
Sophomore dance major Rachel Schemenaur will be dancing in three pieces in “Immersion” and said that performing gives her freedom.
“I love the lights and the audience,” Schemenaur said, “I love not having a mirror in front of me. It makes me feel like when I move, everything else is still and my movements are penetrating time and space.”
Rehearsing for “Immersion’’ keeps Schemenaur busy.
“I practice for specific pieces six hours a week on top of the 10 hours a week I take just for technique classes,” Schemenaur said.
Costumes for dancers in the show are selected, designed and created by the choreographer.
“For teacher pieces, the costume shop usually makes them,” said Schemenaur, “For student pieces, the choreographer usually buys random clothes and puts them together or sews something themselves.”
Schemenaur, dancing a solo in “Immersion,” bought and cut her own costume. Dancers in “Immersion” love working with McIntosh.
“She is really intense and strict but very encouraging,” said Schemenaur.
“She pushes me, and I have grown so much. I love working with all the other dancers. We are like a big family.”
Though Schemenaur enjoys performing, she admits to experiencing nervousness before each show.
“I shake really bad, and I want to throw up,” she said.
“Dance is very personal, so when you go on stage and show someone your heart through your passion and don’t know how they will react to it, it is petrifying.”
Yet the dancers find ways to overcome their nerves.
“We always goof off and dance like crazy people before we go onstage and that always helps,” said Schemenaur.
Tickets are $5 for students and seniors and $10 for general admission.