GSU dance company returns to live performance with a tribute to Broadway
“Cabaret,” “ Dreamgirls,” “Chicago,” “Sweeney Todd,” and “Cats” were just a few of the Broadway musicals that Governors State University's (GSU) Dance Company paid tribute to on the Center for Performing Arts stage February 12.
“25 Years of Broadway and Beyond” featured 14 numbers, choreographed primarily by GSU students and alumni. Assistant Professor of Dance Megan Lindsay—Coordinator, Artistic Director, and Faculty Advisor to the GSU Dance Company— choreographed two Bob Fosse inspired dances.
The last time the dance company performed in front of a live audience was in March 2019. Their 2020 show was postponed due to Covid-19, and eventually streamed to hundreds of viewers at home. Choreographer, dancer, and GSU alumna Autumn Price said though the company was glad to perform virtually “there's nothing like performing in front of a live audience.”
“There is a powerful exchange of energy between the performers and the audience,” Price said. "I’ve missed that.”
In addition to offering dance students the chance to choreograph, current students enrolled in the Theatre Design course had the opportunity to design lighting for a piece.
“Each design student is paired up with one of our student choreographers," Lindsay said. "They had the opportunity to get real-world experience and work with professional designers and technicians.”
Although each dance number originated on Broadway, the dance styles could not have been more diverse and varied. The styles included jazz, tap, modern, contemporary, vogue, hip-hop, and even Afrobeat, said Jazmin Butler, GSU freshman and dance company member.
“That’s one of the challenges. It’s not only different dance styles; each piece has its own mood and emotions," Butler said.
Inspired by the Center for Performing Arts’ 25th Anniversary and as a look back on the many touring Broadway productions that graced the stage, the show quickly evolved into something beyond Broadway. In addition to celebrating the Center’s Silver Anniversary, Lindsay said it also spoke to the importance of the arts during the pandemic.
“What we all need now is to feel uplifted, inspired, and joyful," she said. “No genre embodies that better than the Broadway musical. ”