The Independent Student Newspaper of Northern Kentucky University.

The Northerner

The Independent Student Newspaper of Northern Kentucky University.

The Northerner

The Independent Student Newspaper of Northern Kentucky University.

The Northerner

Emerging Choreographers’ Showcase: A performance created for students by students

Students perform at Emerging Choreographers’ Showcase in 2021. (Alex Slade)

The Emerging Choreographers’ Showcase (ECS) was started in 2014 by NKU Alumni Kat Wolf as her senior thesis. Wolf said she created ECS because there weren’t enough opportunities on NKU’s campus for dancers and choreographers to showcase their talents. 

The show is a production run completely by students. Students have developed a directing team, auditions and costume designers specifically for ECS. This uninterrupted student-run production is now in its ninth season, and NKU students are relishing their opportunity to choreograph and perform in this year’s showcase. 

“As an NKU student, there was only one show for dancers unless you wanted to audition for a theatre performance,” said Kat Wolf. “There were no opportunities locally or within the college to work on creating choreography.” 

At NKU School of the Arts, a choreography class is written in the curriculum for students and dancers who want to learn how to choreograph for other dancers. It offers ways to explore each person’s uniqueness and create movement through their creativity. 

Wolf said she wanted to expand upon the choreography class that was already offered at NKU. “The students in class would all meet together at different times and create combinations that had a lot of value to us, we wanted to share our work with others.” 

Wolf described how her fellow students wanted community feedback on their self-made performances, and how they wanted somewhere to perform and share their art with the community. “The idea was to see if we were capable of being more than just performers,” said Wolf. “The ability to get feedback on a larger scale helped a lot of people, including myself, to realize how much we were actually capable of doing as artists.” 

Many students are appreciative of Wolf’s work and effort on the project. “As an audience member, you can really see the passion put into each piece,” said Hunter Broyles, a student choreographer. “The students in the dance department aren’t compensated for their efforts, so everything you see comes from their creativity and their passion.” 

Student choreographers for this year’s production unanimously agreed they are most nervous about how their creativity and art will be perceived. The choreographers feel grateful for being able to learn more about the capabilities of their own bodies, in addition to their dancers’ bodies. They enjoy learning how each person moves while celebrating the uniqueness of each other.

“I’d like to describe my experience as not negative, nor positive, but focusing on self-awareness,” said Broyles. “It’s about feeling and expressing emotion through movement, seeing how it fits on each dancer, and putting your own story together.” 

Dancers working on the show are very excited to portray real-life stories and experiences. “I’m most excited to see each choreographer’s story, and work with their creativity,” said Alexis Peterson, a dancer for ECS. “Sometimes we are surprised how well we can relate to each other. I’d highly recommend this show to anyone. There’s always an art form that speaks to each individual.” 

The students working on this show are all very supportive of each other. “I believe everyone should have the opportunity to showcase their art,” said Broyles. “I am even more grateful and understanding of people who put time and effort into choreographing for me and express their art on an even bigger scale.” 

The purpose of ECS is to inspire other students to tell their stories. “I love watching these performances because you can see thoughts and patterns. Students’ careers really take off through ECS,” said Broyles. 

ECS premieres Monday night, Nov. 20 in the Greaves Concert Hall in the Fine Arts Center. Admissions are free for everyone.