This weekend, the tradition of the December Dance Concert continues as 20 students showcase their course work from the fall semester. Contributions from Bowdoin and Bates faculty accompany the student performances creating an exciting and diverse exhibition.

Students from Modern I, II and III: Repertory and Performance will perform in three different acts. Bates faculty members Carol Dilley and Rachel Boggia are visiting to perform a duet, and Chair of the Theater and Dance Department Paul Sarvis will show a short dance film. This performance showcases work from a variety of student experience levels.

“You’ll see some students who have never danced or performed ever and then other students who have more previous experience,” said Assistant Professor of Dance and producer of the show Charlotte Griffin.

The dances for the Modern I and II classes are choreographed by Senior Lecturer Gwyneth Jones. Griffin choreographed Modern III’s piece. Despite the professors’ obvious influence on the artistic direction of the shows, there is still collaboration from their students.

“Even when it’s specifically constructed [by faculty], it’s for that particular body, for that particular student, for that particular artist, so it’s always a collaboration, it’s always a conversation,” said Griffin.

Five of Griffin’s students perform in a piece titled “Threshold.”

“It’s an abstract work and has a range of emotional tones, but it’s very rhythmic and has a really strong kinetic spark,” she said. “It definitely makes you want to move.”

“Threshold” was the favorite piece of Fiona Iyer ’18 who saw the show Thursday night. 

“While it was well rehearsed, it came across as spontaneous,” said Iyer.

In contrast to the student performances, Dilley and Boggia of the Bates dance faculty perform a duet. Griffin said she is excited to have them share their work, as they are artists from two different generations.

“[Dilley] is a mature artist who’s been running the dance program at Bates for some time, and [Boggia] is newer faculty,” said Griffin. “It’s really lovely seeing them work together.”

This collaboration between Bowdoin and Bates is part of a recent push to bring the dance departments of Bowdoin, Bates and Colby together.

“We’ve been building some bridges that have been really enriching for the program and for the students,” said Griffin.

Students and visiting artists have been traveling between the campuses, and Griffin felt that it was important to invite these two Bates professors to share their work. The performance by guest artists is a new addition to the show this year.

“They’re not just teachers, they’re also artists themselves, and I thought it would be nice to give them the opportunity to share work that way,” she said.

The final component of the show is the digital media that Sarvis will present. It is also a way for him to showcase his work as an artist to a community that sees him mainly as a professor.

“It’s nice to see the juxtaposition of live performance next to digitally mediated performance,” said Griffin. “I’m interested to see how the audience feels about [this added dimension].”

Iyer, for one, received it well.

“It was edge, moving and so fresh,” said Iyer. 

 “Sarvis’ piece really made the dance show dimensional and added depth.”

Last year, the December Dance Concert was performed in the dance studio in Robert H. and Blythe Bickel Edwards Center for Art and Dance. It was the first time the space was used for this show since the transformation of Edwards Art Center from an elementary school into Bowdoin’s arts facility. This year, the department decided Pickard Theater was a better space for the audience and the performers.

“We have a nice large house to accommodate the guests both from the campus and the community,” said Griffin.

In addition to the performance that was given last night, there will be two more performances on Friday and Saturday at 8:00 p.m. in Pickard Theater. Tickets are free at the Smith Union information desk and at the door.