Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Spring Dance Alabama! opens next week


Just five days before the opening night of Dance Alabama!, at one of the dancers’ last dress rehearsals, director and professor of dance Cornelius Carter addressed his students:

“Everything better be right, or we’re not going anywhere,” he said. “We want it perfect.”

That is precisely how Carter aims to run his program.

“I train my dancers to own their work,” Carter said. “People constantly ask me, ‘Is this an undergraduate program?’ And it is. I teach them to be independent. We wake up every day to something we all love doing, and the audience can feel that.”

This semester, the completely student-choreographed production will showcase 21 dances in all, with some students participating in as many as three dances.

Shannon Lindamood, a senior majoring in dance, said participating in Dance Alabama! is like having a part-time job.

“At minimum, groups rehearse three hours per week,” she said. “Most schedule extra time and rehearse more like six to eight hours per week. This may not sound like much, but for those dancers who are in three pieces, well, you’ve got yourself a part-time job.”

All of this is on top of the dancers’ regular class assignments, as they receive no class credit for participating in Dance Alabama!. But the experience, Lindamood said, is great, and it prepares them for what they will see in the professional industry.

“We’re expected to create and present this finished work within the first four weeks of every semester,” she said. “It’s the equivalent of a big research paper, except we present it to an audience, and we do it within the first four weeks of every semester. How many other undergraduates do that on this campus?”

This is the sixth semester that Lindamood has participated in Dance Alabama!, she said, and she tries to do something unique every time. Lindamood choreographed her dance, “The Top,” to music from the musical “Wild Party.”

“I was looking to do a fun, up-tempo piece with a large cast,” she said. “I haven’t done a jazzy, musical theatre piece since I’ve been here.”

Cara Smith, a senior majoring in English and dance, has participated in Dance Alabama! four times before, but never as choreographer. This year, she choreographed a dance called “Retrospect,” which will be performed to Radiohead’s “Videotape.”

“A lot of the dances tell a story, but mine doesn’t,” she said. “It’s more about movement and the visual experience of watching dance on stage. I’m playing with concepts like memory, light and dark, and I’m trying to display these concepts on stage through movement.”

In addition to her own dance, Smith said she is particularly looking forward to another one that will expose the University audience to a genre they don’t get exposed to often – tap.

“It’s been a long time since we’ve had a tap number in the show,” she said. “It’s a big production with lots of dancers, and it’s choreographed to a Michael Jackson song. It’s going to be a real crowd pleaser.”

Smith said the most difficult part of Dance Alabama! is finding something that you can craft into a form that speaks to you as a dancer.

“It’s a balancing act of trying to please your faculty’s criteria and creating a dance that says, ‘This is Cara Smith,’” she said.

Lindamood said the most difficult part of this semester’s Dance Alabama! production has been the weather.

“All of our rehearsals for Dance Alabama! are from 5 or 6 to 11 o’clock at night,” she said. “We have three studios, and dancers are rehearsing constantly in all three of them, especially during those times.

“We’ve been battling the weather all semester because when the University suspends normal operations, all of our rehearsals get cancelled. It’s difficult.”

“It’s a whirlwind,” Smith said, “but I love it.”

Beginning Tuesday, performances will run nightly starting at 7:30 p.m. Friday’s performance will begin at 5:30 p.m. On Saturday, because of the production’s large number of sold-out crowds in recent years, there will be an additional performance, at 2 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at the Gallaway Theater Box Office in Rowand-Johnson Hall for $15.

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