The voice of and for USM students


The voice of and for USM students


The voice of and for USM students


USM Dance presents Dance Gala

David Hofman on

The University of Southern Mississippi’s Dance Department held its annual Dance Gala concert on Friday and Saturday evenings, welcoming USM dance alumni back to campus as part of the event on March 1st and 2nd. The Dance Gala is also a part of the sixth annual Revelry Interdisciplinary Arts Festival. This multi-arts week (Feb 16 – March 2) has been an opportunity for the programs in the School of Performing and Visual Arts, including Art and Design, Dance, and Theatre, to collaborate and build community within the School and throughout Hattiesburg. The concert featured original choreography by students, faculty, and guest artists that showcased the creativity and talent within the USM dance program.

“The Gala Show week is probably my favorite show week,” said Rain Walley, a sophomore Dance major, who also performed at the Gala. “We do company warmups before every tech rehearsal and show, and it really creates a bonding experience amongst the dance program. We make tons of memories backstage, in the dressing rooms, and even striking the Mannoni together after the show is over, which all create valuable memories.”

The concert included four new works by USM dance students – “Thorne Branches Rooted in Time” by Alanna Lee, “In The End” by Camea Dixon, The Sole Exchange” by Michayla Flowers, and “Lavender Reverie” by Sara Grace Duplessis.

Several pieces by USM dance faculty members were also presented, including “She” by new Assistant Professor of Dance Aaron Allen, paying tribute to influential African American women Myrlie Evers-Williams, Leontyne Price, and Natasha Trethewey. Other pieces choreographed by USM faculty were “Of Remembrance,” “Bicicleta de Baiano,” and “Revival”. Revival was created in collaboration with student dancers.

The program additionally included guest choreography by Mary Roberts, who has extensive professional experience as a commercial dancer, choreographer, and director with major cruise lines. Her high-energy piece “Werk Dancers!” gave USM dancers the opportunity to perform confidently.

More than 25 USM dance alumni attended the Saturday evening concert, reconnecting with former professors and classmates while enjoying the live dance performances.

“We are proud to share the incredible choreography and dance of our students with our esteemed dance alumni,” said Director Meg Brooker when addressing the audience after the end of the show.

USM Dance Alumni were called onto the stage and honored after the show ended. A mic was passed around as Alumni, new and old gathered, as a community to support the student dancers.

Support for projects like the Dance Gala concert comes from endowments like the Bob and Judy Mixon Endowment and Dr. John A. McLeod III and Bebe McLeod Arts Endowment, as well as Partners for the Arts. USM Dance has also made giving more accessible for patrons by creating a direct online link to donate to the Dance Fund.

USM Dance also warmly invites everyone to support the Repertory Dance Company concert in April. The Department invites the public and USM dance community to stay connected via social media and attend future concerts as the program continues its important work training Mississippi’s best young dancers and choreographers.

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