‘Golden Hour,’ a UNLV student-led dance production that sold out seats and won hearts

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Rehearsal of 'En Fleurs,' a dance choreographed by Candice Mendez for 'Golden Hour' on Nov. 7, 2023. (UNLV Dance Department/Louis Kavouras).

Students were given the chance to light, produce and choreograph a concert with “Golden Hour” on Nov. 10.

Students auditioned in October in order to be included in the November concert. Alexa Fahd, who ended up choreographing a dance in the concert, said, “We’re auditioning to see if we can choreograph dances for the concert. I’m so nervous.”

Opening with the sound for amber alerts, the audience first hears an announcement, saying that six inmates have escaped from prison. The first performance was titled “PSA: Jailbreak” and was choreographed by Cassie Gilbert. Lighting design was also done by Gilbert, and the coordination between the song, dance and lighting complimented each other perfectly.

“Mimesis,” choreographed by Fahd, opened with four mimes at the corner of each stage. They each were trapped in an imaginary box, with grid lighting to further box them in. 

In an exercise of trust on stage, “Depression; Hope” had half of the dancers in blindfolds and half of the dancers without. Dancers with blindfolds relied on the other half, but in the middle of the dance, the blindfolds were switched to the other half of the dancers. In a powerful representation of mental health, choreographer Rylee Lucero expertly showed how beds turn from resting places to tombs and how the mental health struggle also means having to put trust in those around you. 

“En Fleurs,” choreographed by Candice Mendez, brought in flower petals, appreciating beauty that lived then died. Lighting complimented the grace of the dancers, moving from a mint green to soft purple. Dancers were in long, flowy dresses, and they tossed petals in an endearing representation of beauty that is grounded in nature and fleeting.

Emma Gonzalez, a UNLV student who attended the performance, says, “I was here to support my friend, but I was blown away by all the performances tonight. Blown away. There’s so much work put in behind the scenes to make something as great as this, and I’m really lucky to be able to see all the hard work.”

Exuding confidence, all the student choreographers and lighting designers shined in a stunning collection of creative talent. UNLV’s dance department will host one final dance performance titled “Rhapsody in Blue” for the fall semester on Dec. 8 and 9.

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