Wichita Contemporary Dance Theater holds Spring Concert after two years


Nithin Nagapur/ The Sunflower

Sophomore Piper Patterson dances at Spring 2022 concert by Wichita State Dance Department.

For the first time in two years, Shockers took Wilner stage in the Wichita Contemporary Dance Theatre Spring Concert. Held from Thursday, Feb. 24 through Saturday, Feb. 26, the performance featured five different pieces, all varying in style. 

Over the two-year break, dancers took the challenge of the pandemic to move toward new forms that were COVID-friendly. 

“We were doing a lot of films,” sophomore Hannah Chandler, who performed in three of the performances, said. “Getting to perform without a mask on stage this past weekend was really exciting.”

Featuring choreography from Sabrina Vasquez, Cheyla Clawson Chandler, Denise A. Celestin, Nicholas Johnson and A.J. Hopes-Pflumm, the concert featured freshman dance majors, sophomore musical theatre majors and one non-performance major.

“The most rewarding part was finally getting to make our debut as a class of sophomores […] to the Wichita community through dance,” Bailey Buchanan said. Buchanan performed in three pieces. 

‘Electric Nights,’ choreographed by Johnson and Vasquez, was performed first, utilizing blue light and electronic music. 

“I feel like that was a great one to start off with,” sophomore Piper Patterson said. 

The next piece, ‘Ever There,’ starred performers Chandler and Siena Radice, choreographed by Celestin. Afterward, there was a showing of ‘Brave New World – Reimagined,’ a short film based on Aldous Huxley’s novel of the same name. Choreographer Johnson found it challenging to convert the novel’s themes into dance.

“It was ambitious,” he said. “Let’s call it that.”

Hopes-Pflumm’s piece, ‘Given Perspective,’ starred seniors la Hawkins on Thursday and Saturday, and Caleb Faer on Friday. The final piece, choreographed by Chandler and Vasquez, was ‘Stargaze,’ starring seven girls.

“With ‘Stargaze,’ we were able to work with [Vasquez] and [Chandler],” Patterson said. “[The best part] was being able to go through the whole choreographic process from beginning–no music, no choreo– to the end–performing it with beautiful lights, music and everything.”

Overall, Johnson is proud of the performance, especially considering this is the sophomores’ first major performance on stage.

“It’s just zen,” Patterson said. “We’re just really thankful for being able to have the opportunity to do this.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated the ages of performers and misspelled one last name. This version of the story has been updated to reflect the corrections.