‘On the Edge’ showcases variety of dance genres

Courtesy University Dance Theatre

Fresno State’s University Dance Theatre (UDT) will have its fall repertoire performance, featuring 15 students, starting Nov. 21 until Nov. 23 at 8 p.m.

The dances performed were created by Fresno State students with some additional help from dance professor Kenneth Balint. 

The dances will range from genres of contemporary to modern, lyrical, folklórico, K-pop and hip-hop. 

The performance will be held in Lab School Room 101, with tickets available now for $5 in the Speech Arts Building Monday through Friday from noon to 4 p.m. 

There will also be a matinee performance on Nov. 23 at 2 p.m.

“From the dancers performing to the choreography and the production aspects of the concert, everything is student generated. University Dance Theatre is a course that engages a high level of collaboration, dialogue and discovery. Year after year, the dancers bring a rich dance tradition of creativity and community to California State University, Fresno,” Balint said.

Students began preparing for the performance at the beginning of the fall 2019 semester. Though most participants are dance majors, the class is open to any student at Fresno State wishing to participate in the dance program.

Nicholas Castro, a third-year transfer from Fresno City College (FCC) pursuing a bachelor’s degree in dance, is one of the student participants. Castro found his passion for dance in Central High School’s folklórico program, further honing his skills in FCC’s folklórico program and Fresno State’s Los Danzantes de Aztlán folklórico program. 

“Performance allows me to communicate with the audience in a way that many people forget is possible. They can learn who I am as a dancer just through my embodiment and pride as a dancer on stage,” Castro said.

Castro will be dancing in the pieces “Stoic,” “Sanctuary” and “I Don’t Care.” He’s also the student choreographer for “Un Paseo por Sinaloa” and designed the production’s poster. 

Another dancer, Megan Evans, is a third-year theatre design/technology major at Fresno State She will participate in seven numbers, as well as serve as an assistant stage manager. 

Evans will be in “Bouncin,” “Wandering,” “Eclipse,” “Survival of the Fittest,” “Stoic,” “A Household” and “May We Meet Again.” According to Evans, each of the numbers has a range of styles and moods to keep the show fun and fluid.

“In my opinion, dancing is a wonderful way of communicating stories and moods,” Evans said. “There are no words to use to tell the audience how you feel; you must convey your message using only your body, the music and possibly props.”

Student participation is essential in UDT, according to Cory Faamausili, a third year dance major who provides prospective dancers with real world experience. 

“As a student, UDT’s performance helps fulfill my knowledge and preparation for what could happen if I were to join a bigger dance production when there’s rehearsal schedules and backstage needs,” Faamausili said. “Performing impacted my concentration and focus by being open-minded to the different dances I never thought I’d ever dance to.”

Ticket proceeds go toward dancers attending Fresno State, as well as the broader performing arts community in Fresno.

According to Balint, community support serves as motivation for these dance students to continue pursuing the art of dance and continuing their training. 

Those interested in attending the performance and supporting UDT are encouraged to buy tickets prior to the night of the performance, but tickets will be available for purchase using cash on the day of the performances.

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