The Circle Of Life
May 3, 2018
SHSU Media Contact: Hannah Haney
Photo Credit: Lynn Lane
Master of Dance candidate, Jared Doster, has come full circle in his pursuit of the ultimate Sam Houston State University experience.
A Huntsville native, Doster received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance and a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Design and is now working on his master’s in dance, all from SHSU.
After graduation, Doster toured internationally with the prestigious Pilobolus Dance Theatre and performed in over 25 countries on five different continents.
He later returned to his roots to teach Contact Improvisation, Choreography, Hip-Hop and assist with Dance Technology classes as part of a “returning professional” assistantship for the Department of Dance at SHSU.
Most recently, he represented SHSU Dance at the American College Dance Association South-Central Conference held in Beaumont, Texas. At the festival, he presented his choreographic work “Umbilic," an innovative duet that features two male dancers, Doster and junior Joel Rivera, and a large iron sphere that the dancers dance, hang, climb and roll on through the space.
Utilizing his industrial design skills, the set piece was designed and fabricated by Doster. His vision was inspired by the bond between fraternal twins in the womb and the same bond that carries them through life.
"I wanted to bring to life the idea of creating a duet that integrated the use of a seven-foot metal sphere. The idea fits perfectly with the sphere being a multifaceted metaphor for a mother’s womb from which we emerge, and the shared environment that twins grow up in, leave from and come back to,” Doster said.
“The theme of the piece is about knowing you always have someone that has your back, and someone that is always right there with you through thick and thin. It also touches on making the most of every moment you have with the people around you, since you never know when it might be your last.”
For Doster, this sentiment was personified last Fall when Hurricane Harvey struck his Houston home and completely submerged everything he owned in the flood waters.
“My family and I were emergency evacuated by a huge military truck while our home took on three feet of water. For the rest of the semester I juggled finding time to complete my school work, create ‘Umbilic,’ and help clean up the damage from the flood.”
“On top of all this, I ran into a delay on the materials for the structure for ‘Umbilic’ preventing me from being able to finish building it nearly halfway through the semester. This left me with only seven rehearsals to start and finish the piece before the show. This was a very stressful task, but I believed in my idea and also knew that this was my last semester to create anything to be considered for the American College Dance Association and didn't want to pass that up.”
Despite these hardships, his resiliency paid off and the piece was selected as one of 12 out of 45 dance works for the Gala Performance, and as one of three that will go on and represent the region at the National American College Dance Festival this summer in Washington, D.C.
“Joel and I are very excited to be performing in Washington D.C. and even more thrilled to be representing SHSU Dance on a national level,” Doster said. “Both he and I have been to Nationals before, but this time will be particularly special for me since it will be my choreography being showcased as well. It will be a fulfilling experience.”
In addition to this honor, Doster was recognized with the Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award for his exceptional teaching skills in the classroom, his innovative teaching techniques and his ability to engage students in learning. The SHSU Office of Graduate Studies recognizes only one graduate and one doctorate student a year for this honor.
Dionne Noble, assistant professor for the Department of Dance, believes Doster to be an ideal role model and natural leader.
“We have been very pleased with his performance in the program and the level of professionalism he has brought to the position of teaching assistant,” Noble said. “I continuously hear from the students, his colleagues and other faculty, that Jared is an excellent teacher. They report on his patience, his ability to break material down in a way that the students understand it and his honesty in the teaching moments that really count.”
According to Doster, he feels fortunate to be able to give back to the community that has given him so much.
“As I think back on memories and lessons from my own teachers, I realize the impact they had on shaping my life, career and who I am as a person. I am an educator because I want to pass down that same set of values and motivation to my students,” Doster said. “I am constantly reminded of the circle of inspiration I receive from my students as they make connections and continually progress to new levels.”
In the future, he plans to submit “Umbilic” to a number of dance festivals across the country in hopes of sharing his art with the world. Next semester, he will also be presenting his thesis concert and graduating with his MFA in dance. Upon graduation, he plans to go on a national search for a tenure track position as a professor of dance with the goal of helping shape a new generation of artists, movers and thinkers.
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