Longhorns joined one another this past Friday in the dark comfort of the Texas Union Theater to share in a bright, colorful experience which shed light on the magic of music in the lives of their peers.
Hosted by the developers of the music app “Ellomix,” Alchemy was a hand-picked collection of performances featuring UT talent against the backdrop of natural forces. Performances were themed by elements such as fire, rain, the ocean and the cosmos, featuring both original content and covers of popular songs.
In a choreographed dance celebrating the power of rain, dance education senior Jordyn Marsh combined new and old styles of dance in fluid movements. Marsh said she has been dancing since her early childhood and is currently teaching dance to children in Austin through UTeach in the BFA program. She also said the event organizers approached her to join the project due to her well-known dancing abilities.
“Alchemy is the idea of using the elements of different natural things, like earthbound items, wind, fire, water … and I thought that would be best for a dance performance,” Marsh said. “Water, I just felt would be more fluid, but there’s different elements of water, so I’m capitalizing on the differences in types of water. You have the very soothing natural water that ebbs and flows, then you have the very abrupt, harsh, slapping-your-face raining downpour.”
In creating her performance to the tune of “Waves” by Kanye West, Marsh said she focused on the softer side of water, where her movements would mimic the ocean. She said whirlpools and circular motions derived from such a meeting of currents inspired her work.
“I’m kind of transitioning into that role where I’m still dancing, but I’m dancing with middle school children,” Marsh said. “I like the aspect of performing, getting on stage because it gives me that opportunity to remind myself that I’m not only a teacher and I’m not being only able to gift students with this ability, but that I also still have it in myself.”
Radio-television-film senior Marshel Reed opted for an untraditional addition to the mix of Alchemy, giving the performance its rhythmic backing through the art of beatboxing.
“The thing about beatboxing is it’s different for everyone,” Reed said. “The little things like aperture make a great difference in the sound of it. People’s anatomy and their mouth makes such a difference, yet anybody can beatbox, and it will just sound different than another person’s. It doesn’t have to be perfect.”
For Alchemy, Ty Temple, a BHP and Middle Eastern studies sophomore, paired with BHP senior Anisha Srivastava for a performance to Luther’s “So Amazing.” Temple said he began in his church choir as a child, making the switch to competitive Turkish singing where he performed in Turkish and multicultural festivals.
Returning to his musical roots of rhythm and blues for this performance was both nerve-racking and comforting, Temple said.
“Our performance is kind of the soul,” Temple said. “So you have these different performances and elements representing different genres of music, the cosmos. It’s a movement in the stars, the soul, the serenity of music which is portrayed in this R&B performance.”
In his travels as a performer, Temple said he realized the true power of music once he began performing abroad. This power and magic of music, combined with the unique backgrounds of the acts, is what the hosts of the show used to enchant and excite the audience.
“I got to collaborate with all these different high school musicians and performers from Kazakhstan, Japan, Tanzania and Brazil,” Temple said. “A lot of these kids didn’t speak English, but they knew a Justin Bieber song or a John Legend song, so we were able to communicate through music.”