Student production explored spirituality with performing arts
THE SANTA CLARA
January 22, 2014
It’s not every day that practicing yoga becomes a performance art in spirituality. Sun salutations, original songs and tap dance routines took the stage this past weekend as part of Santa Clara’s Charisma 2015, a celebration of self-expression, spirituality and diversity of the arts.
“The whole thing emanated a certain peace, self-assurance and confidence,” said audience member Natalie Grazian. “It really reflected a sense of self-growth.”
Every year, a team of performing arts students go on a retreat to reflect on their own spirituality and self-identity. This experience then comes together as a student-run, student-produced show. The students represent their personal exploration through any number of performance types of their choosing.
“We all tried to gather a collection of mediums that spoke to us spiritually as a group and as individuals,” said Sarah Olive-McStay, a member of the Charisma ensemble.
This year, the show, performed at the Fess Parker Studio Theatre, included pieces ranging from violin playing, to singing, to a zen performance of on-stage yoga with cast members repeating sun salutations and breathing exercises. For some, their spiritual and personal journey was best showcased by a piano solo, for others, a lively tap dance.
“For me, the highlight was the tap dance,” said Grazian. “At first, it looked as if her feet were dancing without her control, then eventually the rest of her body joined in on the dance.”
The show, which is comprised of entirely original student work, always brings together a well-rounded combination of mediums, whether it be spoken word or a more visual art, which has led to its success year after year.
Expressing her spiritual experiences, Olive-McStay wrote a song for the show that focused on redemption. Utilizing her well-equipped cast in her piece, she aimed to inspire the audience — to breathe life into someone, as the archaic definition of inspire describes.
The intensity and honesty of a work that comes from the artist’s heart cannot be imitated or recreated. This sort of raw energy was felt by the audience.
Many college students are at a time in their lives when they are constantly growing and learning more about themselves and their own spirituality. Charisma represented that journey.
“(Charisma) helped me to be introspective of where I come from spiritually and where I encounter God,” said Olive-McStay. “For me, it’s music and how I take God and my experiences and share them with people.”
Contact Summer Meza at firstname.lastname@example.org .