Texas State students reveal their truth through the art of dance


Students from Texas State Dance Division performing during "The State of California v. Ezzard Charles Ellis" at " 'your truth has no place in this world' " performance Nov. 14. Photo credit: Brianna Benitez

Brianna Benitez

Through electrifying choreography and artistic design, students in the department of theatre and dance showcased a heartfelt and vulnerable show during the, “‘your truth has no place in this world'” performance. Opening night was at 7:30 p.m., Nov. 14, in Evans Auditorium.

” ‘your truth has no place in this world’ ” was a show with an intention to spark conversations around societal topics by serving as a platform for students to speak their hidden truths. The performance included two acts and 13 individual performances choreographed by eight seniors receiving a BFA in performance and choreography.

“Social Contagion” was the opening performance, consisting of a video showing a dance choreographed by Brennah Galvin, dance senior.

Galvin said “Social Contagion” was an act that spoke on her personal struggle with anxiety. The context of the dance centered around the feelings of isolation, spinning out of control and shrinking into nothing.

Galvin said the purpose of ” ‘your truth has no place in this would’ ” was to showcase issues that not only affect society but individuals themselves. She said since the program showcased issues through the art of dance, the audience was inclined to absorb the messages of each dance in a personal way.

“Dance is such an internalized art form,” Galvin said. “It allows people to see issues differently.”

The final dance of the show, “Endure,” was choreographed by Galvin as well. The piece was a representation of Galvin’s self-doubt as an artist. The piece was meant to highlight the journey of being overpowered by doubt.

During the dance, four artists performed to the songs “Redemption” by Serpentwithfeet and “Death Chorus” by Ben Sollee. “Endure” included a voice-over by Galvin that personalized the piece. The voice-over included a series of negative comments Galvin has endured while pursuing a career in dance. Comments included the idea that Galvin is not cut out for the dance industry and how there are better performers compared to her.

Galvin said each piece is personal to each choreographer. The reason the title of the show, “‘your truth has no place in this world'”, is in quotation marks is to reflect the idea that someone is saying to the audience their truth is not valid in society.

“Your truth affects you, and that’s what we want our audience to feel when they’re watching the show,” Galvin said.

Galvin said she hopes the event inspired the audience to spark conversation about the topics presented through each dance.

“Our goal in the end as a group is to have the audience ready to talk about an issue they’ve witnessed on stage and open their minds to other points of views and truths,” Galvin said.

“‘your truth has no place in this world'” showcased dances inspired by societal issues like racism and criminal injustice. Kaytlyn Collier, dance senior, performed in two dances: “Still” and “The State of California v. Ezzard Charles Ellis.” She said each dance includes an underlying message needing to be learned.

“These matters are real and they will continue to be real after the show,” Collier said. “I hope the performance motivates the audience to educate themselves on the issues around them and spread what they learn by educating others.”

“Still” featured four dancers who performed to “Lord Is Coming” by H.E.R and “Falling Leaves” by Clare Maguire. Collier said “Still” was a piece that spoke on racism.

The State of California v. Ezzard Charles Ellis” featured a group of 10 dancers who performed to “Lonesome Valley” by Fairfield Four and “Reminiscence” by Ólafur Arnalds and Alice Sara Ott.

The performance was inspired by the case of Ezzard Charles Ellis, a black man who was sent to serve life in prison for a murder in 1989. Ellis later learned his trial lawyer was racist and expressed contempt for his clients.

During, “The State of California v. Ezzard Charles Ellis,” performers were dressed in orange prison jumpsuits. The dance represented discrimination faced in prison and the injustice in the judicial system.

Rachel Tucker, photography junior, said she attended the show to support her friends in the theatre and dance department. She said her favorite pieces of the event included, “I Know Someone,” a solo performed and choreographed by her friend, Tayler Jenkins, and “Silent Proclamation” choreographed by Mark Gonzalez.

“Silent Proclamation” featured seven performers. The dance was influenced by the struggles members of the LGBTQ+ community encounter when coming out. Audio from “Redemption at the Roulette Table” by Nicholas Britell, “Shapes in the Dark” by Shlohmo and spoken text from Gonzalez were included in the performance.

Tucker said the show helped provide a voice to members of the LGBTQ+ community. She said the performance provided raw and truthful reflection members of the community face when coming out.

“I know a lot of people struggling with how their parents take the news, so having a dance to speak out on that is just amazing,” Tucker said.

For more information on Texas State’s Department of Theatre and Dance, visit theatreanddance.txstate.edu.

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