By Victoria Ungvarsky
The stage of the Hill Theater glows bright orange and blue as the deftly talented dancers glide across its surface.The students are preparing for the upcoming Fall Dance Concert, a showcase of student and faculty creativity garnered throughout the course of the semester, including two senior thesis pieces.
The show flows seamlessly, as students and faculty have been working on the production since the start of the semester. About three weeks into the academic year, the Dance Department held auditions to find student performers for the show, drawing from those presently enrolled in technical dance courses. The groups have been meeting for four hours every week since.
“Even though all the pieces are modern, there is a wide range of styles. You get to see students coming from all fields of study performing,” Associate Professor of Dance Julie Brodie said.
Student work dominates the production, with five out of the eight dances choreographed by students. Bailey Johns ’14 and Sandro Aravena Perez ’14 are presenting choreography as part of their senior theses. “For [Johns’s] piece, she took photographs of different dances and used this as the impetus to create the material for her dancers,” Brodie said. Aravena’s piece focuses on gender issues.
The other choreographers are Eden Deering ’14, Rebecca Varnell ’15 and Colin McArthur ’15, along with Assistant Professor of Dance Kora Radella Feller, Visiting Assistant Professor of Dance Elizabeth Carter, and Brodie.
“It will be a really interesting exploration of movement and creative expression,” Phoebe Carter ’17, who is a student dancer performing in Elizabeth Carter’s dance, said.
The dances are predominantly in modern styles and range from the emotional to abstract. One piece, choreographed by McArthur, features dancers in black body suits who manipulate the world around a sleeping young girl. However, perhaps the most intriguing part of the upcoming event is the act one closing piece known as “Lynchtown,” choreographed by Brodie.
“Lynchtown,” originally created by Charles Weidman in 1936, plays with the ideas of mob mentality and lynching in America. Brodie recreated the work based off of the notated score of the dance. “The theme is still relevant,” Brodie said. Even though the piece was originally created nearly 80 years ago, its themes still ring true in modern times.
The final performance of “Lynchtown” on Saturday will be punctuated by a faculty panel during intermission. In attendance will be Associate Professor of Sociology Jennifer Johnson, Assistant Professor of English Jen? Schoenfeld, Professor of Sociology and Legal Studies Ric Sheffield, Professor of Drama Jon Tazewell and Visiting Assistant Professor of Psychology Andrea White. During intermission, the audience will engage in open conversation with the faculty members and discuss the themes of the piece. Brodie hopes it will provide new depth to the performance.
As the performance date nears, the students and faculty are excited to finally present their hard work to the Kenyon community. “It’s been really exciting to watch it develop and be involved in the process,” Carter said.
“The best part of being involved in the Fall Dance concert is seeing how all of the pieces evolve from simple ideas to complex compositions,” Megan Darnell ’14, a dance major performing in Aravena’s piece, added.
The Fall Dance Concert opens tonight at 8 p.m. at the Hill Theater, with following performances on Friday and Saturday.