At the premiere of the December Dance Concert last night, the performers fused a diverse collection of dance numbers to create one cohesive show. The Bowdoin College Department of Theater and Dance presented the first of three performances of the concert?the others will happen tonight and tomorrow night at 8:00 p.m. in Pickard Theater.
The 11 dances, which were choreographed by students and faculty, draw influence from a wide range of dance genres, including Romanian dance, hip-hop, step dancing, and jazz.
The show's opening number, "Cimpoi," a Romanian dance named after the bagpipe that traditionally accompanies it, was performed by students of Dance 101/Cultural Choreographies. The dancers, who stood in lines and held hands, kept their torsos virtually motionless, drawing attention to the rhythm of their precise foot-steps. Accordion, drum, and clarinet players accompanied the dancers on stage and provided the melody for their dance.
Sophomore Becca Seldon, who performed in "Cimpoi," said that last night was her first time to perform in a dance concert at Bowdoin and that finally having a real audience increased the energy level of the performers. She expects that at tonight's performance, the dancers will be able to learn from last night, and the show should be "better than ever."
Following the structured Romanian step-dance in stark contrast, Jillian Grunnah '06 and Tauwan Patterson '06 shared the spotlight in their own creation "A Girl, A Boy, and Two Microphones." Patterson, who is a member of campus a cappella group the Meddiebempsters, sang "Father Figure" by George Michael to accompany portions of the dance with music. A large part of the piece was performed in silence, and Grunnah and Patterson used microphones on stage as props.
Members of Dance 112/ Introductory Repertory hiked and studied to the beat in the dance "Crunch," choreographed by Lecturer in Dance Performance Paul Sarvis and members of the class. At the beginning of the number, the dancers, who wore jeans and solid-colored shirts, ran onto stage and put on red backpacks, which were donated by L.L Bean.
After performing an artistic interpretation of a hike, the stage transitioned to a classroom setting, complete with several desks and chairs. As performers flipped through books, a voiceover recited formulas for the proper MLA citation of various types of sources. Later in the piece, several laptop computers were set on the front of the stage. The performers picked them up, and walked upstage with them. As the lights dimmed, the last image the audience saw was several glowing, white screens, floating in the dark.
Alicia White '07 is a member of Dance 101 and Unity step team, and performed in a number with each group last night. White was particularly impressed with the ability for all the dancers in the show to come together as a community for the December Dance Concert. She said that before full-group rehearsals and shows, all the dancers warm up together and give each other back rubs. She felt that the concert was truly a show, not just a collection of disjoint, individual performances.
"[We] feel like one big dance company," she said.