Orchesis Dance Company wows crowd during Spring Showcase

Grambling State University’s Orchesis Dance Company jazzed things up before taking the audience to church Sunday as their 75th anniversary celebration continued with a Spring Showcase inside the Conrad Hutchinson, Jr. Performing Arts Center.

Titled “Featuring a Legacy of Excellence in Dance,” the program was also highlighted by a guest performance by Make A Difference Dance Company, a youth troupe based in Shreveport, Louisiana.

The first half of the program brought the jazz with performances to songs “Act Bad” by Dj Jess, “Take the ‘A’ Train” by Duke Ellington, “Rock Steady” by Arethra Franklin and “Wish I Didn’t Miss You” by Angie Stone, “Bills, Bills, Bills” by Destiny’s Child and “Boogie on Darrell,” which featured music by Earth, Wind and Fire and The Emotions.

That part of the program also featured the first of two videos shown during the performance —- “The Reveal” — which showed Orchesis Dancer Michaela Morris.

The program’s second half of the show featured inspirationally based music and dance.


“Deliverance” was performed to the song “Cry Out” by All Nations, “What’s Going On” featured the Marvin Gaye classic and the program closed with a dance set to “Long as I got King Jesus” by Vickie Winans.

The second video was shown during that part of the program and featured the Orchesis Dance Company turning in a powerful performance set to Nina Simone’s version of “Strange Fruit.”

Orchesis Director J’amie Griffith, a 2016 GSU graduate wrapping up her first year after replacing former director Diane Maroney-Grigsby was pleased with the way the showcase turned out.

“I’m happy,” Griffith said. “I thought it was a great start and finish of our 75th anniversary year.”

Griffith said she was the one that came up with the idea of adding video performances to the showcase.

“I got into dance film in graduate school (Griffith received her Master’s of Fine Arts in Dance from Oklahoma State University in 2022),” she said. “So, I had done some freelance work with choreographers and videographers and then I brought that here with me and introduced my dancers and students to it.”

“We actually just finished our third one, so that one will premiere at Dance His High Praise (the Orchesis Dance Company’s annual spring performance in Shreveport).”

Maroney-Grigsby was on hand to watch Sunday’s showcase.

“It was beautiful — outstanding,” Maroney-Grigsby said. “Just being here, I feel like Mama, sister, friend — all of it. They did amazing and I’m so proud.”

Griffith said that taking over as Orchesis director in the troupe’s 75th anniversary year has been what she termed amazing.

“It’s definitely been a full-circle moment because I was a student here as well as the captain,” Griffith said. “Just to see during the fall celebration so many generations coming back to dance and meet with our current dancers and let them see where we come from and let those older generations see where the legacy is now and how it’s carrying on was wonderful.”