‘Serendipitous’ surprises for everyone

This year’s spring dance concert, “Serendipity,” which takes place Friday, will surprise attendees with a cast of 45 to 50 dancers, choreographers and a lighting crew that will astonish everyone. 

Dance professor and director Gina Sawyer said, “This is going to be a multimedia site-specific work.”

While Sawyer isn’t in the production, she created it. The concept and direction is the brainchild of Sawyer and guest artist Darrell Cleveland, a professional dancer, choreographer and instructor with 20 years of experience in ballet, jazz and modern dance. 

“‘Serendipity’ is about celebrating the unexpected in your life. Not so much the big hurrah things, but just the simplicity of appreciating the small things that you encounter in taking a moment to absorb that and finding joy from that,” Sawyer said. “This show itself has turned out to be quite surprising with some of the last-minute twists. One of them is that the University of Texas at Dallas dance ensemble will perform.” 

The concert takes place at 12:30 and 7:30 p.m., Friday, March 31 in Fannin Performance Hall. Dances will include tap, ballet, modern, jazz and hip-hop. Sawyer said she has planned an exciting pre-show at 7:15 p.m.

“Audience members who come in through the Fannin Hall east doors will have an introduction before the concert to transition into the idea of serendipity,” Sawyer said. 

According to Sawyer, the pre-show will be some “live, in-the-moment, very close proximity” encounters between the dancers and the audience with some “really permeable borders".

“We’ll be in the proscenium where there’s a stage and a separate audience, so it will be quite interesting to see how that audience and a performer interact,” she said.

Sawyer said the space in the preshow defines who we are, how we think, how we feel and how we perceive our surroundings, our relationship to the space and the space in relationship to us. 

“I think the aesthetics at Richland College
are very important; the lake, the natural scenery and to keep that alive is inherent in the essence of who we are – the students, the faculty,” she said.

Sawyer added that she thinks aesthetics make a difference. 

“So, I’ve taken this area here that was formerly the ticket booth,” she said. “There has been no further treatment of the space in regards to aesthetics. You can see kind of a hole in the wall there that hasn’t been repaired. You see the ceiling here – it’s still in need of being refurbished.” 

Sawyer said she intends to bring the space to life through dance here in Fannin Hall and give it “some dignity and respect.”

“What I’m going to do is to have projectors plugged into this outlet. You will see images projected on the wall,” she said. “The dancer will move through these images, intersect with the images to a Bach and Roshberg, some classical artists.”

The concerts are free and open to the public. No reservations are necessary.