After Dark spotlights talent of Baylor students

Baylor Dance Company showing off their skills in preparation for After Dark. Grace Everett | Photo Editor

By Erianne Lewis | Arts and Life Editor

Students will take the stage at 6:30 p.m. on Friday in Waco Hall for the annual talent show, After Dark, hosted by Student Productions. Geneva, Ill., junior Grace Beattie and Frisco sophomore Ava Bohling are a part of Student Productions and serve as executive producers for After Dark this year.

Beattie and Bohling said the planning process began over the summer with the brainstorming of theme ideas.

Bohling said they recruited people anyway they could, through social media, emails and attending open mic nights at Common Grounds.

There are eleven acts participating in the showcase, including Bohling who will play the piano accompanied by an original song. The performers vary from singers and dancers, to poets and unicyclists. There will even be two student films featured.

Bohling and Beattie are adding in more details to the show than previous years have seen.

The stage and surrounding areas will be decked out with décor to fit this year’s theme, “A Night in the City.”

“Seeing all that come together, seeing our performers and seeing the theme set up and everything was like ‘oh, our vision is coming true,’” Bohling said.

Fairfax, Va., senior and President of the Unicycle Academy, William Burns, said he was encouraged to audition and he, along with the other unicyclists, threw together a video quickly.

Burns and three other unicyclists will perform a storyline-driven act with a unicycle-stealing antagonist. Burns said the performance will be around five-to-six minutes long.

In its act, the Unicycle Academy has enlisted someone from each classification level to participate, Burns said.

Unicycle Academy at Baylor performing their skit at the After Dark dress rehearsal.
Unicycle Academy at Baylor performing their skit at the After Dark dress rehearsal in Waco Hall. Grace Everett | Photo Editor

“It will be a good bonding experience across the different ages,” Burns said. “Hopefully the club will last after I’m gone. It was here before I got here, so it’s lasted this long, which is inspiring. I’m definitely looking to get the freshmen involved, and I think this cross-class endeavor will help get them involved more.”

Inspired by his soccer coach at the time, Burns started riding the unicycle about ten years ago after receiving it as a Christmas gift.

“It’s a little bit like flying, more so than a bike,” Burns said. “You only have one point of contact with the ground, and you feel kind of aloft. It’s refreshing.”

Houston senior Jennifer Gannon and Rocklin, Calif., senior Taylor Williams are a part of the Baylor Dance Company, another act performing in the showcase.

Gannon said the Baylor Dance Company officers participate in After Dark each year. There are five officers performing in the dance, which was choreographed by Gannon, president of the Baylor Dance Company. Gannon said she is excited to see the girls perform the choreography on stage.

Gannon and Williams started dancing when they were three and four respectively. However, they had different paths that lead them to the Baylor Dance Company.

Gannon danced competitively growing up and joined her school’s drill team when she entered high school. Williams grew up doing studio dance, and she joined the varsity dance team in high school.

“My grandmother wanted me to do a more feminine sport, and my mom and dad said ‘No’ to putting me in pageants,” Williams said. “She [my grandmother] didn’t want me just playing soccer, so she put me in dance. I did soccer with my dad, and I did dance with my grandmother. Here I am in college still dancing.”

Williams said there came a time when her soccer and dance schedules were too hectic for her to continue pursing both. During this time, her grandmother sat her down and told her she could quit dance if she needed to, Williams said.

“She swears to this day, that what I told her in that moment, was ‘No Grammy, I don’t want to quit dance. Dancing brings me joy,’” Williams said. “That’s kind of been like my mantra when I think of dance.”

Both Gannon and Williams joined the Baylor Dance Company their freshmen year of college. Gannon said dance has had a larger impact on her and has shaped her into the woman she is today.

“My favorite part of dancing is always the performance aspect of it,” Gannon said. “I love performing. I love the feeling you get when you perform. Coming to college, I’ve grown a big love for choreography. I just love the art of dance, how it continuously pushes you and your character.”

Williams said there is something special about watching non-dancers enjoy a performance.

“I love hearing the opinions of people, that have never seen a dance show before,” Williams said. “When I have friends that get to come to our performances for Baylor Dance Company, who don’t understand what we do and the level that we are performing at, after they watch they are like ‘Wow. That was amazing.’ That makes me feel joy too, because they get to see the beauty in what we are doing. I feel better knowing that I’m sharing something so happy with other people.”

Beattie said during rehearsal on Tuesday, one of the acts performed a song that brought her to tears because of the Baylor connection.

“It just brought in a lot of nostalgia and emotions for me,” Beattie said. “I know people feel music and different acts in different ways. So, I think involving the audience in that way and just feeling those emotions again and just getting to be in that moment, that’s what I’m excited for.”