Stunning Performance Stands Out in UMKC Show


Kayla Brazelton in front of her poster after the show. Photo by Hugo von Reis/RooNews.

Hugo von Reis, Staff Writer

  Kayla Brazelton performed and choreographed during the UMKC dance senior capstone on Feb. 3 at Spencer Theater.

  The senior capstone takes place every year in the spring semester. The dance conservatory seniors plan their own group piece that is performed by other students, as well as execute their own solo. 

  “I really enjoyed being able to freely collaborate with artists within the conservatory and the light and sound crew,” Brazelton said.

  A big challenge when putting together two pieces all by herself was the time frame.

  “Originally we started in October with auditions, you only get one day a week to rehearse, all December and half of January is gone because of winter break, and then it is basically showtime,” Brazelton said.

  In this incredibly tight schedule, at the end of January, Brazelton had the opportunity to show off her dancing skills in Toronto for five days in front of possible employers. To squeeze in all of that and come out with the exquisite piece that she did is beyond impressive.

  Originally from Chicago, Brazelton moved to Kansas City in 2019. Gloria Brazelton, Kayla Brazelton’s mother, came down from Chicago to watch her daughter shine on the stage. 

  “I can’t believe that was my daughter up there,” said Gloria Brazelton.

  Going into the show Brazelton mentioned that she did not plan to pursue choreography as a career, but seeing her excel in this, my hopes are that we see more from her in the future.

  Brazelton’s group piece, “Reflecting Growth” is just as it sounds, it is about reflecting over her growth as a person and dancer. 

  “As an artist it is hard to appreciate your work and it is very easy to do what someone tells you to do,” Brazelton said. “To create your own movement on stage and see how people can reflect on it, relate to it, and become moved by it is an uplifting feeling.”

View of the stage from the audience. Photo by Hugo von Reis/RooNews.

  The feelings that surfaced while watching her group piece proves how difficult and inspiring it can be to completely make up a dance from scratch that tells such a clear story.

  Her solo “Repressed” is also self-explanatory. Brazelton shows off her stunning piece about being held back by something good. She used a rope as a prop to represent her technique. 

  Brazelton explained how sometimes a technique restricts a performer from showing their artistry, full movement and enjoyment of dance.

   It was very easy for me to picture this as she threw the rope into the ground and the dance took off. Brazelton’s movements were smooth like silk and her timing to the music “Unfolding” by Diana Yukawa were immense. I think this made the piece the most outstanding during the show and it really stunned me.

  Many dancers, including Brazelton, know the challenge of choreographing something by themselves and all the uncertainty that comes with it. My emotions and eyes did not lie to me in that it became a beautiful and joyful project she should be very proud of.

  “I was really excited to work with my dancers because you get to see people in class but you don’t really have the opportunity to teach and work with them like I’ve been doing before this show,” Brazelton said.

  What she loves most about the senior show is how different parts of the conservatory (light, music and dancers) come together to put on this wonderful production.

  “I was very happy to put some of my work on my peers to see how they move in my vision,” Brazelton said. “It was great to see that all the hard work I put into it became such a beautiful moment to share with family, friends, and teachers.”  

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