Deadly sins and heavenly virtues will come to life in a dance performance by Chameleon Performing Arts company, which includes ACU students, alumni and Sing Song choreographer Teri Wilkerson. The show, called “7,” will take place April 22-23 at the Paramount Theatre.
Chameleon, a contemporary dance group at Dance Discovery Studios, includes dancers age 18 and over, some students from ACU and Hardin Simmons University, and one high school student. Core Hip Hop Company, another part of Discovery Studios, will also perform in “7.”
The show features sixteen numbers choreographed by Wilkerson, her daughter Kirby (’15) and Shelby Lachowitzer, telling stories of the seven deadly sins and seven heavenly virtues. The style is “more LA, more Austin,” Wilkerson said. “It combines dance and theatre together.”
Kirby, assistant director of Chameleon and company director of Core Hip Hop, said the choreographing process usually begins with a song.
“I pick songs that I relate to, that I find myself immersed in,” Kirby said.
She listens to the songs very loud, in the dark while driving at night so she can “develop a relationship with the song.” Then she uses choreography to tell a story.
For the sin of lust, the company will perform a piece that takes on the issue of sex trafficking. Kirby said the choreographers researched the numbers and statistics about sex trafficking in Texas and they looked for a relief organization to help. During the intermission, cast members will accept donations for a relief organization.
“It’s mind-blowing how many victims are involved in this right now,” Kirby said.
Karla Castillo, sophomore speech pathology major from Loredo, joined Chameleon after performing in the Sing Song downstage acts in 2015 and 2016. She has danced jazz, hip hop, lyrical and even flamenco for the past 15 years. She said the show is hard because of the deep emotions the dances invoke.
“Her pieces are very real and so she’ll touch on things that people really don’t want to hear about,” Castillo said.
Castillo performs in six pieces and she said the piece about sex trafficking is one of the more emotional numbers.
“[Kirby] did make us research on it because she wanted us to know what we were doing,” Castillo said. “Usually when we’re dancing and practicing it’s just silent because it’s sad that that’s actually happening in the U.S.”
The dances in “7” will not be typical depictions of the sins and virtues. For the sin of gluttony, Kirby said she focused on gluttony of a person, looking at how people crave relationships and attention from a significant other, parent or friend.
“We are trying to put a twist on them in a way that maybe we as people don’t realize that partaking in that choice – it actually does fall into the categories of one of the seven deadly sins,” Kirby said.
Kirby included parts of her life story in the show, and said she has struggled with addiction and the death of a loved one. She said she hopes to touch at least one person in the audience with these numbers.
Teri Wilkerson choreographed dances for Sing Song downstage acts and Freshman Follies dance acts since 2000. She also choreographed for ACU theatre for 18 years and choreographed for Discovery Studios for 31 years. Wilkerson chooses dancers for Chameleon by individually asking them to participate. This is Chameleon’s 20th performance.
Tickets cost $12 and are available at the door or through a Chameleon performer.