Long-distance runners often talk of the "runner's high,"
that feeling of euphoria the body gets when it's been performing
at its peak for a length of time.
At the American
College Dance Festival last month, University of Southern Mississippi
senior Julie Tuner experienced what could be called a "dancer's
for eight months on an original piece choreographed by fellow student
Emily Maurer, Turner performed it for a trio of noted dance judges.
Turner's interpretation of Maurer's work, called "Come into
View," impressed the trio enough to include it in the Gala
Concert, which featured the 10 best dances of the 40 judged during
the four-day festival in Atlanta.
I'd been doing this particular piece for eight months, it's not
uncommon for a dancer to feel stale after that length of time. But
that was not the case for me," Turner said. "I felt like
I was performing it for the first time."
because she trained so long, she really didn't have to think about
the steps. "My body just knew them. I escaped into my own little
world for six minutes, and when I was done, my peers began clapping
and screaming for me. I felt so relaxed."
the prestigious American College Dance Festival features budding
professional dance students from seven Southeastern states. Faculty
members work with students from schools in Florida, Kentucky, South
Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina, and Mississippi. During
the four-day event, students also take master classes and hold informal
concerts and show dances.
a great opportunity to network and see what other schools are doing,"
said Stacy Reischman, director of the Southern Miss dance department.
judges said of the Southern Miss duo that the choreographer, Maurer,
"found her voice" and Turner's execution of the original
piece was an obvious "performance milestone."
one of the judges, Claire Porter, even interpreted her movements
in ways she never considered.
about the dance and my gestures representing the world. She was
making a reference to the way I held my hands often throughout the
never thought of myself as 'holding the world,' but when the judge
said it, then it made perfect sense to me," Turner said.
Southern Miss took 25 dance students to the festival, but only two
dances were selected for competition.
we choose to represent (Southern Miss) are typically ones that we
think showcase our finest dances and most innovative choreographic
agendas," she said.
The dance was
half of Maurer's senior project, with the second half being a written
she was confident entering the judging phase of the festival because
Maurer's choreography was so strong. "I believe Emily is an
amazing artist with very fresh and interesting ideas about modern
dance," Turner said.