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Dance undergrads showcase expressive choreography

 The Contemporary Dance Concert, program A, held Thursday through Saturday, was billed as evenings of innovative dances by undergraduate dance majors, and in most instances, it was exactly that.

The choreography that was created and performed by the students of the Department of Dance was indicative of the mixture of ability and
aptitude that makes up one of the most reputable dance institutions in
the state. Dance critic John Martin often referred to dance as an art
form unique in its ability to directly convey expression from the
choreographer to the spectator and to embody a variety of perspectives.

The concert succeeded in presenting a wide array of images, interpersonal relationships and points of view through dance.

Eloise DeLuca had two pieces on display in the concert. The first,
“Eloise and Sarah’s Glorious Adventure,” was both charming and witty. DeLuca integrated media and dance to create a vehicle for her vision of friendship.

DeLuca and Sarah White brought play to the stage through their
untraditional pas de deux that was supported by a video of the two
girls frolicking about a neighborhood. The entire piece was
reminiscent of a nostalgic time when short films often preceded
feature films. Therefore, placement of DeLuca’s first piece at the
start of the concert made perfect sense, allowing it to serve as an
amuse-bouche for the works that followed.

Unfortunately, while DeLuca’s first piece was entertaining, her second
presentation, titled “Three,” was a work that failed to engage the
audience due to its muddy phrasing and disregard for the subtleties of
spatial relationships. Additionally, the nauseating, multi-colored
outfits worn by the three female performers were evocative of colorful
beach balls rubbed with bronzer. Ultimately, the choreography only
served to provide three more dancers with stage time.

“Ticcahua,” a piece choreographed by Hugo Diaz, followed in the arid
footsteps of “Three.” Although much of the work did a respectable job
of utilizing partnering and spacing, the piece never established a
sense of presence aside from the admirable performance given by Kimmie Hannah during her solos. The choreography seemed to lack emotional effect within the movement, which would have enlivened the piece; its absence left the cast lost without a sense of understanding what the choreographer was attempting to present.

The only time the piece truly seized the concept of parting ways, as
captured in the title, was the final section when Hannah turned back
to face the group only to have them turn and leave the stage without
her.

The piece “Pass to Remember, Pass to Forget” by Yu Kondo was one that felt rushed and cluttered. The amount of time in which the piece took place seemed as if it were a hindrance to the choreography’s desired effect and its ability to induce emotions in the audience. The dance offered many instances for the audience to connect through kinesthesia; however, the dance’s continuity was disrupted as the many bodies on stage were jerked from one section to the next in a manner that quickened the performance while compromising expression and proper transition.

Given the depth of emotion that the piece strived to convey, Kondo’s
piece would have been better served by reducing the amount of dancers and further developing transitions in order to enhance the audience’s ability to perceive.

When Sara Loder took the stage to perform her work, “Watch For Low Falling Stars,” one could not help but notice the abundance of talent bottled up in this one individual. Loder performed a lighthearted
piece that boasted her unlimited skills as a performer. The
articulation in the smallest of movements from her outer most
extremities to her facial expressions displayed Loder’s understanding
of how to create a wholly unique spectacle. She was a perfect example of how modern dance does not require an individual to focus solely on perfecting dance technique in order to infuse a performance with an all-encompassing aesthetic.

The low point of the evening came when Kate Andrews performed her
trite solo, “Greener Pastures.” The various clichés, ranging from the
rhythmic poem being barked aloud through the theater’s audio system to the rose petals covering the stage, creating a piece that was
shapeless and inartistically manifested. The voice behind the poem established a stronger presence on stage than the detritus offered by Andrews and may have left the audience feeling more inclined to snap their fingers rather than to applaud as the performance concluded.

While many of the performances varied in range and ability in both
dance and choreography, Elizabeth Espindola’s piece “Ominous — Left, Lost, Forget” was the most complete in terms of production. Espindola, in collaboration with composer Hoplaros and visual artists Lindsay and Pourmokhtar, creatively used an array of worn-out and abandoned shoes to line the edges of the stage and set up a performance that could connect with audience members on various levels.

The dreary background served to enhance the vision of a barren
landscape where passing and insolvency were menacing characters. Three dancers moved on stage with a feeling of bereavement and disorder that could not have been more transparent in both imagery and movement. Espindola was able to create a piece that truly embodied expressional art.

The many undergrads who compiled this weekend’s concert brought
together a variety of pieces that displayed the unique backgrounds
they have each inherited from their social milieu.

 

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