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ELEVATE: Faith, Hope, Love

Dance Concert


The Department of Theatre acknowledges the land we are on in Tennessee is the original homeland of the Cherokee, Yuchi, Shawnee, and Chickasaw tribal nations. We honor these indigenous people, their heritage, their culture, and their legacy. We respect those who are still here and whose descendants live and thrive here despite the systems of harm they have encountered from the dominant/majority culture. 


Alex Dee
Connor Adair
Haden Lindsey
Jackson Martin
James Wier
Sh'Ahr Blackburn
Mary Humphrey
Annie McMurrian
Olivia Eley
Aleia Eagleton
Lillian Brown
Emily Stephens
Emma Ramsey
Emma Stanard
Makinley Smith
Emily Powell
Jaidyn Smart
Mackenzie Gregory
Makenzie Cogswell
Kayla Hill
Keely Hudspeth
Taylor Marmorstone
Callie Jean Tysdal
Megan Ammons


Welcome to a very special Elevate Dance Concert. Last summer when I began planning this show, I was struck by the need to have a throughline that tells a story throughout the evening. I wanted this story to center around a girl who goes on a journey through adolescence and into adulthood. Maybe it is because I teach so many young women in this age range, or perhaps it is because I have a daughter in this age group as well, but I felt like it is a story of girlhood that many could relate to. As the story evolved, I wanted to highlight the fact that for many girls growing up today, making that shift into adulthood can be more difficult than ever, and it reminded me to look back at I Corinthians 13, which is all about "The Greatest Gift" of Love. The most important thing that we look for and need in life, Love, is often complicated and confusing, but ultimately once we remember that "Love is patient, Love is kind,"  then we are able to navigate the ups and downs of how to love each other. Elevate this year shows us one girl's journey to find faith, hope, and love and how that looks in all the different kinds of relationships we have in life. She finally learns, too, that sometimes the most important love we can give is the love we give to ourselves. Join us as we follow our leading lady Hope, whose story is told through many dancers tonight (all dressed in pink and red), as she navigates adolescence into adulthood, learning about her faith, trusting in hope, and discovering Love.

This year especially I want to thank my amazing dancers for going with me on this journey. So much of tonight's show is a result of their willingness to collaborate, their excitement about creating art, and their amazing skills as dancers and choreographers. Special thanks goes to my student Assistant Director and student Choreographer, Mary Humphrey, who began this journey with me in August by helping me conceptualize, create, and beautifully choreograph so much of this show. Thank you, Mary, for sharing your talents with me these past four years and for jumping on board wholeheartedly this year as AD and Student Choreographer. Also special thanks to another amazing Student Choreographer Annie McMurrian, whose gorgeous choreography and amazing eye for storytelling have added so much to the show, as well as to juniors Olivia Eley and Emma Ramsey who have also added their fabulous choreography to several interludes in the show. And to the Foundation Dance Theatre Company dancers...congrats on a wonderful show and thank you for all that you give back to this program and to the relationships formed each day. I love you all!

Finally I want to thank my colleagues in the theatre department for supporting the work we do with FDT and Elevate as well as our wonderful Stage Manager, Maya Denning. You are all so wonderful to work with! To our three fabulous professional choreographers, I am honored and blessed to showcase your wonderful work tonight! And to my husband Jason and my kiddos...I love you all and am thankful for the opportunity you all give me to do what I love. And finally, I dedicate this show to all the amazing women in my life, but especially to my daughter. May you all find a piece of yourselves in Hope's story today as we cheer her on her journey. Enjoy Elevate: Faith, Hope, Love!

Kari Smith, M.F.A.

Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things...Love never fails...And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
I Corinthians 13:4-13


Producer: Beki Baker
Director: Kari Smith
Assistant Director: Mary Humphrey*
Production Manager: Andy Bleiler
Choreographers: Kari Smith, Bakari King, Leigh Anne DeLisle, Maddie Williams
Student Choreographers: Mary Humphrey*, Annie McMurrian*
Student Interlude Choreographers: Olivia Eley*,  Emma Ramsey*
Costume Designer: Kari Smith
Wardrobe Head: Regan Mills*
Lighting Designers: Stephen Moss, Anne Willingham 
Sound Designer: Connor Adair*
Technical Director: Hendrick Shelton
Master Electricians: Kelly Scheuman, Rylee Hickey, Ellen Meyer
Stage Manager: Maya Denning
Assistant Stage Manager: Preslie Cagle, Maegan Kirkland
Props Assistant: Maegan Kirkland, Makinley Smith
Production Assistant: Cleo Graham*

*denotes students


We follow our main character, HOPE (dancer’s name is in bold for each piece) as she takes her journey through adolescence and into adulthood.


Choreographer: Kari Smith
Dancers: Mary Humphrey (soloist), Connor Adair (soloist), Mack Gregory (dance captain), Aleia Eagleton, Emma Ramsey, Makinley Smith, Callie Jean Tysdal, Jackson Thomas-Clark Martin, Emily Stephens, Kayla Hill, Olivia Eley, Jaidyn Smart, Lillian Brown, James Wier
Swings: Megan Ammons, Haden Linsdey
Music: Stevie Wonder, Ariana Grande

Program Notes: Lights up on Hope and her friends in their adolescence as they are having fun with each other and celebrating friendship. Hope discovers, though, as the piece ends that sometimes in life, even when you are around people, you can still deal with loneliness and isolation. 

Interlude–Dancing on My Own

Choreographer: Annie McMurrian, Mary Humphrey, Kari Smith
Dancers: Mary Humphrey, Annie McMurrian, Sh’Ahr Blackburn, Keely Hudspeth
Music: Pentatonix

What About Us

Choreographer: Kari Smith
Dancers: Annie McMurrian (soloist, dance captain), Olivia Eley, Kayla Hill, Emily Powell, Taylor Marmarstone, Megan Ammons
Swing: Kenzie Cogswell
Music: P!nk

Program Notes: Hope wrestles with her feelings of isolation and questions why people can make you feel this way. The other dancers represent people near her who feel the same way, but as we travel through life we may not see how others feel, even those we may be close to. As she searches for answers leading from this piece to the next interlude, Hope finds that there are people who care and who see and who help her find the answers she is looking for.

Interlude–Fix You 

Choreographer: Emma Ramsey
Dancers: Annie McMurrian, Aleia Eagleton, Callie Jean Tysdal
Music: Coldplay

Ultralight Beam

Choreographer: Bakari King
Dancers: Aleia Eagleton (soloist), Kenzie Cogswell (dance captain), Haden Lindsey, Sh’Ahr, Megan, Callie Jean, Emily Powell, Keely Hudsputh, Taylor Marmarstone
Swings: Kayla Hill, Mack Gregory
Music: Kanye West
Program Notes: Faith is an invisible staircase that takes courage, trust, and strength to lean upon. It is a daunting task to step out not knowing if you will fail or succeed. Faith consists in believing when it is beyond the power of reason to believe. Let us follow this beautiful soul to find that FAITH.

Interlude–Nice to Meet Ya 

Choreographer: Olivia Eley
Dancers:Aleia, Sh’Ahr, Lillian, Mack, James, Jaidyn, Jackson
Music: Niall Horan 

Brass Band 

Choreographer: Bakari King
Dancers: Lillian Brown (soloist), Makinley Smith (dance captain), Emily Stephens, Emma Ramsey, Callie Jean Tysdal, Sh’Ahr Blackburn. Jackson Thomas-Clark Martin, James Wier, Connor Adair
Swings: Emma Stanard, Keely Hudspeth
Music: Sweet Charity Cast Recording/Christina Applegate
Program Notes: A flutter in her chest... A gleam in her eye... A song in her heart. When words fail...let music speak. Our girl is in LOVE and someone loves her back. Strike up the band!

Interlude–Follow You  

Choreographer: Olivia Eley, Kari Smith
Dancers: Kayla Hill, Alex Dee, Connor Adair, Sh’Ahr Blackburn, Jackson Thomas-Clark Martin, James Wier)
Music: Imagine Dragons 


Choreographer: Maddie Williams
Dancers: Kayla Hill (soloist), Olivia Eley, Mary Humphrey (dance captain), Annie McMurrian, Kenzie Cogswell, Mack Gregory, Taylor Marmorstone, Emily Powell, Lillian Brown
Swings: Aleia Eagleton, Jaidyn Smart
Music: C.U.T.

Program Notes: Fabulous is focused around the new found confidence of our leading lady. In this piece she demonstrates how her new confidence alters and improves her overall outlook and demeanor.

Interlude–Love Never Felt So Good 

Choreographer: Mary Humphrey
Dancers: Kayla Hill, Mary Humphrey, Alex Dee, James Wier, Connor Adair, Jackson Thomas-Clark, Martin
Music: Michael Jackson, Justin Timberlake

Do I Love You

Choreographer: Leigh Anne DeLisle
Dancers: Mary Humphrey (soloist), Alex Dee (soloist), Connor Adair (dance captain), Lillian Brown, Aleia Eagleton, Kayla Hill, Annie McMurrian, James Wier, Jackson Thomas-Clark Martin
Swings: Emily Powell, Haden Lindsey
Music: Bruce Springsteen

Program Notes: True love affords us so much - friendship, joy, intimacy, an antidote to loneliness, and an abiding inner confidence that radiates in all we do.  In this piece, our heroine finds just such a love, and her confidence glows!

My Sharona

Choreographer: Kari Smith
Dancers: “Friends of FDT” Andie Perez-Hernandez, Madeline Jones, Ava Sin, Anna Jones, Kaylie Herpolsheimer
Music: The Knack

Program Notes: We take a break from Hope’s story to enjoy a little peek into how it must feel to be a techie who just wants to dance!

I Gotcha

Choreographer: Mary Humphrey
Dancers: Mary Humphrey (soloist), Annie McMurrian, Olivia Eley
Swings: Jaidyn Smart, Mack Gregory
Music: Fosse/Shannon Lewis

Program Notes: After the events of Do I Love You, Hope faces struggles in her relationship. As he begins to fall short, she dreams of a stronger, more confident version of herself who could confront him and his hurtful behaviors. She ultimately finds this self-assurance that goes beyond just her relationship. I Gotcha represents the power women can hold and the beauty in standing up for yourself. ***I’d like to dedicate this performance of I Gotcha to my first dance teacher, Mrs. Christy, who choreographed my first solo to this song when I was 8 years old. I love you and wouldn’t be here without you!!

Interlude–Man’s Man’s Man’s World  

Choreographer: Mary Humphrey, Annie McMurrian
Dancers: Mary Humphrey, Annie McMurrian
Music: Katharine McFee

Love in the Dark 

Choreographer: Annie McMurrian
Dancers: Annie McMurrian (soloist), Alex Dee (soloist), Olivia Eley, Mary Humphrey, Emma Stanard, Jaidyn Smart
    Swings: Connor Adair, Kenzie Cogswell
    Music: Adele

Program Notes: Hope awakes from her dream to her love returning home & climbing into bed. As she battles with yearning for the self-confidence that she dreamt of & fearing a life without him, she begins to see other people facing conflict in love just as she is - a mother fighting for a relationship with her resentful daughter, & a pair of sisters with a strain on their relationship. Seeing that she is not alone in her battle with love, she builds up the courage to stand up to him & fight for what she knows she deserves, eventually leaving him alone to face his choices.

Interlude–Ain’t No Sunshine

Choreographer: Emma Ramsey, Kari Smith
Dancers: Annie McMurrian, Olivia Eley, Alex Dee, Emma Ramsey, Mack Gregory, Keely Hudspeth, Emily Powell
Music: Bill Withers

Hope on Fire: A Suite 

Choreographer: Kari Smith
Dancers: Olivia Eley (soloist and dance captain), Alex Dee (soloist), Annie McMurrian, Mary Humphrey, Megan Ammons, Lillian Brown, Emily Powell, Jaidyn Smart, Mack Gregory, Keely Hudspeth, Emma Stanard, Emma Ramsey, James Wier, Connor Adair, Haden Lindsey, Jackson Thomas-Clark Martin
Swings: Emily Stephens, Sh’Ahr Blackburn, Callie Jean Tysdal
Music: Mumford and Sons
Program Notes: Hope reconnects with her love as they learn how to navigate tough situations together. As time passes, she discovers that sometimes you have to find strength from within to navigate what life throws at you. As Hope grows up and matures, she learns to appreciate each moment, and that “where you invest your love, you invest your life.” 


Choreographer: Kari Smith
Dancers: Olivia Eley, Kenzie Cogswell, Alex Dee, Sh’Ahr Blackburn
Music: Sarah McLaughlin

Love Myself

Choreographer: Kari Smith, Annie McMurrian, Mary Humphrey
Dancers: Kenzie Cogswell (soloist), Keely Hudspeth (dance captain), Haden Lindsey (dance captain), Makinley Smith, Aleia Eagleton, Emma Ramsey,  Emma Stanard, Emily Stephens, Megan Ammons, Sh’Ahr Blackburn, James Wier,  Connor Adair
Swings: Callie Jean Tysdal, Taylor Marmorstone
Music: Hailee Steinfeld

Program Notes: This piece explores Hope’s discovery that in order to achieve happiness we all have to learn to love who we are. Hope does just this as she moves into adulthood after learning so much through her interactions with her friends.


Choreographer: Emma Ramsey
Dancers: Emily Powell, Annie McMurrian
Music: Ben Platt

I Lived

Choreographer: Kari Smith
Dancers: Emily Powell (soloist and dance captain), Jaidyn Smart (dance captain), FDT full company
Music: One Republic
Program Notes: Hope learns that the fear that once held her back is no longer an obstacle in helping her live a full life. This piece is a reflection of what we all hope we can say about our lives…that we did it all and regret nothing.


Stage Crew: Max Hunkler, Emma Rose Williamson, Sophie Simmons, Abi Nicholson
Wardrobe: Marian Barber, Claire Pals, Bowen Sellers, Nathan Mann, Kayla Dunn, Connor Adair, Alex Dee
Light Board Operator: Marley Crouch
Sound Board Operator: Meg Wombles


Shop Foremen: Makinley Smith, Ash Barrett, Annie McMurrian, Peyton Lewis, Andrea Hernandez, Garner Harsh, Marian Barber, Maegan Kirkland, Nate Mann
Scenic Practicum: Megan Ammons, Knoelle Antley, Preslie Cagle, Katie Haralson, Brock Loyd, Zahra Alsooz, Alex Dee, Téa Doherty, David Long III, Andrea Hernandez, Samantha Scattini, Mariko Tan, Phoebe Countryman, Lawson Karber, Berkley Landreth, Joylin Lescalleet, Nathan Mann, Maya Mezgel, Sophie Simmons, Aleyah Williams, Makenzie Cogswell, Aleia Eagleton, Katarina Kell, Battle Loyd, William Monin, Nylah Watts

Costume Shop Staff: Ava Sin, Jaidyn Smart, Emma Stanard, Regan Mills
Costume Practicum: Connor Adair, Ash Barrett, Aleia Eagleton, Olivia Eley, Claire Pals, Isabella Wickham, Sarah Cooper, Kayla Dunn, Ella Haganman, Bowen Sellers, Ava Sin, Jonah Smith, Allie Andres, Lillian Brown, Erin Crandall, Mackenzie Gregory, Anna Jones, Maegan Kirkland, Jackson Martin, Jaidyn Smart

Lighting Foreman: Justice Orrand, Justin Littrell
Lighting Practicum: Erin Crandall, Marley Crouch, Kellen Ferrell, Madelyn Jones, Peyton Lewis, Grace Mullins, Rachel Penner, Emma Ramsey, Makinley Smith, Emily Stephen, Callie Jean Tysdal, James Wier, Meghan Wombles


June Kingsbury


In an effort to minimize the impacts of the production on the environment, several aspects of this performance have reduced ecological footprints. The scenery and flooring are 100% reused/repurposed, the paint used on the floor is low VOC (volatile organic compounds), over 70% of the lighting utilizes low energy consumption LED technology, and the costumes are over 50% sourced from existing stocks.