Photo Credit: Peterson Photography
From humble beginnings in Anaheim, California, to the new and exciting ever evolving Grand Canyon University campus, Tamrae Wright has had to not only learn life lessons along the way, but has somehow found a way to create beautiful pieces of art with her choreography.
She has been showcased in two student spotlight performances and has performed in countless productions stemming from her old studio growing up, to the university studio she now calls home.
Just recently she showcased her newest piece which is entitled, “Beside quiet waters.” This piece was performed with just the sound of water flowing down a gentle stream as her music, just the sounds of nature to entrance the audience and create an atmosphere so they will feel what Tamrae calls, “true serenity.”
The inspiration behind her piece came from Psalm 23, which states, “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” (NIV).
Tamrae said that it speaks to her as “the peace and prosperity that God can bring, and I wanted to bring that to the audience.” Her background coming from a very strict Christian household played a very large role in this.
The director of the dance department at Grand Canyon University Susannah Keita spoke of Tamrae’s most recent masterpiece, saying “Immersed in the senses, made me think of my childhood sitting under a bridge, next to the water, it awakened my senses.”
To evoke that kind of emotion and remembrance takes a lot of skill, especially in someone, like Susannah, who has seen dozens of dance pieces in her overall career. Another fellow choreographer and student, Khaila Matthews called her piece, “transcendent”. This could possibly refer to the fact that in order to create such a beautiful work of art by using only the sound of a stream is certainly not something that is often seen.
“Never seen Tamrae dance so professionally in my career at Grand Canyon.” Sean Dahlberg, a professor of dance and founder of the Phoenix Contemporary Dance company said very candidly about Ms. Wright’s newest piece.
Tamrae stated when asked about what her inspiration for choreography in general, “I don’t have just one source for inspiration, but I will usually start with a story or concept, and then find music to help me tell that story.” Her pieces have ranged from finding serenity as previously mentioned, to the power struggle between an authority figure and the person they are above, who is just trying to break free.
Her previously published piece was called, “Strings,” which had the look of a puppet being controlled by her puppet master. Throughout the piece they danced, one in front of another in almost perfect sync, until near the end, when the puppet had enough of being controlled. The puppet broke away, string by string, and by the end of the piece had taken those strings and wrapped the original puppeteer in those strings.
Tamrae’s inspiration from that piece came from a situation where she wanted to break free, she wanted to find her own path, make her own mistakes, and become her own person. She was tired of being controlled so what did she do? Rather than either wallow in it or just stand down and take it, she used it to her advantage and created a masterpiece.
Something interesting about this choreographer is that she was not trained in the modern style of dance, until college. She was actually trained as a classical style ballerina. Through her experiences and stepping out of her balletic comfort zone she was able to branch out, and dare I say, “break away” from everything that was holding her back and in turn began to flourish, not just in her choreography, but socially as well. Currently she is a choreographing a piece for the dance department at Peoria High School. “it is a challenge to me, because I have never choreographed for such a large group and I have never choreographed for people that are just beginning into dance and it is a good challenge for me to break things down to the simplest form.” Tamrae stated about her newest project that will be showcased December 2nd and 3rd at Peoria High School in Peoria, Arizona.