Experience dances inspired by Nepal and Afro-Cuban 

The semester is ending. Classes are focused on projects and final exams. Students are worried about final grades. 

Need something to take your mind off of stress? 

Consider the Spring Concert by the Minnesota State’s Department of Theatre and Dance Department.

 Performances are 7:30 p.m. April 27-28 and 2:00 p.m. April 29, featuring student choreography, design, and performance. (Tickets are $10 at regular price, $9 for seniors ages 65 and older, children under 16, and groups of 15. For MSU students, it’s $5.) 

The concert has eight dances choreographed by two faculty members, three students and two Andreas Guest artists.

 One of the artistic directors, Daniel Stark, said the department likes bringing in guest artists for students to learn from. 

“Every year, we have some money to bring in people, and that’s from chatting with faculty and students. We look at people out there doing interesting work that we think would be good to have come to campus and work with our students, as well as entertain our audiences with something they maybe haven’t seen before,” said Stark. 

One of the guest artists brought in for this concert is Kieron Sargeant. He worked on a dance called, Rebirth.

 It is a fusion of contemporary dance and dance traditions of the Caribbean.

 In addition, one of the dancers in the show, Nicole Daggett, said that learning this kind of dance was a new experience. 

“I’ve taken classes with more Afro-Cuban dance styles but never in that style. It’s always something I was like, ‘Oh, I’ve never done that before. I want to try it. See how it is.’ That’s been cool to experience and try out for the first time,” said Daggett. “Working with guest artists is always good, and it’s always a privilege just to work with different people in the field.” 

This dance includes student work. Parisha Rajbhandari, currently getting her MFA in dance and choreography, choreographed one of the dances in the show. It is called “Displaced.” 

In this performance, Rajbhandari examines what happened after the earthquake that shattered central and eastern Nepal, her native country, and caused an estimated 2.8 million people to be displaced.

 This was her first time choreographing a dance for a concert like this, and this dance is one of her favorites of the show. 

“It was hard to start because I never intended it to be that way. But a lot of different things, from music to just a lot of things coming up, pushed it to become that piece. A lot of collaborating with movers, dancers and movement coming from all of my experiences in life sparked that piece of life,” said Rajbhandari. “It’s not my favorite part because it’s very heavy, but at the same time to see it come alive and choreography is a big deal.” 

Students are encouraged to come to the show. Unfortunately, the department spends the whole spring semester working on this for only four performances.

 Daggett said she encourages students to see the show and says there will be a wide variety of dances for everyone. 

“I feel like dance concerts are something that not a lot of people get to experience; it’s a whole new experience for everybody here at school,” said Daggett. “We have Afro-Cuban, tap dance, a contemporary movement that’s very contemporary and contemporary ballet, in our concert. We have a big group dance and solo dances.” 

Students can go to MSUTheatre.com to learn more about the show or how to get their hands on tickets.

Header Photo: The 2023 Spring Dance Concert is at 7:30 p.m. on April 27 & 28 and at 2:00 p.m. on April 29. Tickets are $10 regular price, $9 for seniors ages 65 and older, and $5 for MSU students. (Courtesy Minnesota State Mankato Theatre & Dance Department)

Write to Lauren Viska at lauren.viska@mnsu.edu

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