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Spring Dance Concert: April showers bring May pirouettes?

May 6, 2022

Amira Oguntoyinbo
HANDS UP FOR DANCE: To culminate their semester’s work, all dance classes took part in a year-end performance. Senior solo artists also got the chance to exhibit their movements on stage in a concert on Wednesday and Thursday.

Spring semester dance classes performed in the Spring Dance Concert in Pickard Hall yesterday and on Wednesday. The performance weaved dance styles and traditions together and included pieces from the Advanced Modern class, the Advanced Afro Modern class and the Introduction to Modern class.

The Advanced Modern class took the stage first to the sound of 80s synths and electronic drums. Its performance started off up-tempo with energetic movement, but as the music switched to a more subdued song, the dancers followed suit and slowed down.

“That shift between the two pieces … represents deconstructing the technique we’ve learned in class into more of the principles,” Advanced Modern performer and soloist Lou Sydel ’22 said.

The arrangement held different meanings for each person performing.

“For some people, it has the images of aliens and space and robots decomposing into nature.” Sydel said. “What’s really exciting about it is [that] I feel like every person who’s come up to us after the show has had this totally different take on what it means.”

After Advanced Modern took its bows, the Advanced Afro Modern class followed up with a compelling and impressive piece entitled “Exhaling into Us.”

Arianna Bow ’23 explained the influences of the piece as well as its significance.

“We looked at our physical relationship to breath, our emotional relationship to breath and our aspirational relationship to breath,” Bow said.

In a particularly striking section of the arrangement, the dancers, after falling down, appeared to fight for air before transitioning into individual dances. Bow explained that each dancer had created their own choreography for this section to illustrate their personal connection to breath.

Bow also took a moment to reflect on how Assistant Professor of Dance Adanna Kai Jones has influenced her dance.

“Much of the dancing that [Jones] does and the dancing she teaches is about the cultural background that forms the movement, which is something I think has been really life-changing for me personally in the way that I approach dance and the way that I interact with dance, as well as how I experience dance in my body and how I move based on that,” Bow said.

The third act of the night was Sydel’s solo piece—an excerpt from his senior project. The piece, which Sydel choreographed and sound edited himself, is set to a mix of both song and indistinct recorded conversation.

“I was choosing audio that was from the fifties and very old and prescriptive about the etiquette of how you move, especially as it relates to gender,” Sydel said.

His emotive, gestural and pantomiming choreography also explored this theme.

“A lot of my project has been around the connection between gesture and gender and the ways that gender is encoded in the body,” Sydel said.

The show ended with a lighthearted and dynamic dance arrangement from the Introduction to Modern class.

Both Sydel and Bow made the importance of the dance program and this concert in particular clear.

“[The setting of a dance performance] is one that fosters a lot of caring, community and fun in a way that a [classroom] seminar might not,” Bow said.


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