After living and breathing dance for the past four years, three Sweet Briar seniors will share the results of their hard work in a joint concert at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 20, and Saturday, Feb. 21, in the Upper Dance Studio in the Babcock Fine Arts Center.
Dance majors Sadé Fountain, Lily Hoblik and Tiffanie Brown will perform solo and group dances, some of which they’ve choreographed themselves. The show has no unifying theme, but is meant to highlight just how much the art form means to them, says Brown, a musical theater minor who is also pursuing an Arts Management Certificate.
“[We want to show] our audience what we have been dedicating our lives to for the past years,” she said.
Dance professor Mark Magruder is impressed with his students.
“Tiffanie, Sadé and Lily have all contributed greatly to the dance program and the campus community,” he said. “All three of them have grown into very capable choreographers, and the Senior Dance Concert will showcase some of their best work.”
Each of the dancers will bring different strengths and interests to the stage, Magruder says.
“Tiffanie often bases her works in reality and at times gives us a nod to wry humor, like her dance about Wall Street,” he said, referring to a previous performance. “Sadé has worked with text in some of her works and explored difficult topics like PTSD. She is a powerful performer and has great stage presence. Lily excels in [showing] the psychological side of the human condition. Her works often draw the viewer into a world that is familiar but different enough to cause much reflection.”
Hoblik hopes her choreographies will evoke an emotional response and allow the audience to become personally involved. Dance is all about letting go for the Edgewood, Ky., native.
“In the world, emotions aren’t always accepted, but in the arts, I can truly express myself and be free,” Hoblik explained.
Her performance will pay tribute to everyone who has helped her “grow as a dancer and a person,” she said.
“Dance at SBC is tailored to the student,” she added. “[Professors] Mark and Ella [Magruder] have treated me as a human, not just another student. Being in a small program allows me to get individual help when I want it. They are more than willing to spend time after or before class [to meet] students’ needs.”
Brown, who hails from Woodbridge and, like Hoblik, began dancing at the age of 6, agrees.
“[At Sweet Briar] I have grown as an artist by being challenged to look at dance in so many different ways,” she said.
Fountain shares Brown and Hoblik’s gratitude, but shies away from calling herself an artist.
“I consider myself more of a teacher,” she said. “I love that I am able to teach [dance] in the afterschool program [at Sweet Briar]. Over the last three years, I have been able to watch my students grow and become choreographers.”
Fountain also enjoys choreographing her own pieces, making dance videos and performing solos.
“I feel that is when I am most vulnerable because I pour all of me into my work.”
Her senior dances are deeply personal, ranging from a piece on PTSD, a topic “near and dear” to her heart because of her father’s experience as a Vietnam veteran, to “Timing,” which deals with her own emotional, mental and financial struggles as a first-generation college student who is finding her voice away from home.
Inspired by a mother who loves dance, the Danville native took her first classes at the local parks and recreation center. Over the years, her passion for tap and jazz has remained, but she has recently become particularly interested in liturgical dance — dance movement used for religious or spiritual worship.
It’s a natural connection for Fountain, who supports the chaplain’s office as a Sweet Spirit and also serves as president of the choir and Sweet Tones.
In fact, dance has proved a natural fit — and tremendous motivator — in nearly every aspect of her life.
“I could not imagine my life without dance,” she said. “It has given me the confidence to do all that I do here.”
The Senior Dance Concert is free and non-ticketed. Shoes must be removed before entering the studio. For more information, please contact Mark Magruder at (434) 381-6150 or firstname.lastname@example.org.