Section: Arts

Modern dance gets meta in upcoming Fall Dance Concert

Modern dance gets meta in upcoming Fall Dance Concert

Cora Markowitz, Collegian

By Elana Spivack

Dance, for concert performer Ian Edwards ’17, comes in many different shades and sentiments. For him, a featured dance in the upcoming show represents retreating into himself, as well as breaking free from self-imposed manacles. In another piece, dance represents visceral, animal intuition. In a third, he is not entirely sure what meaning emerges, but he trusts that despite that ambiguity the piece will coalesce.

Performances of this choreographic smorgasbord, part of the Kenyon College Dance and Dramatic Club’s (KCDC) season, will take place at 8 p.m. in the Hill Theater, tonight through Saturday, Dec. 13. It will feature seven student-performed and -choreographed pieces, save one that was choreographed by Professor of Dance Balinda Craig-Quijada.

The show features an array of styles and artistic elements that do not hold to any particular theme, but leave everything up to the audience’s interpretation. However, each choreographer and dancer adhered to his or her own particular creative agenda to shape the performance. Choreographer Tate Glover’s ’16 piece, “Please don’t feed the animals,” features a large ensemble of 12 dancers and draws from a variety of sources, from a song by the band Hybrid to the way cats move.

“As the piece progressed and the movement started to reveal itself more … I tried to make movement outside of rehearsal,” Glover wrote in an email to the Collegian. “But for the most part, the movement was made in rehearsal, and the majority of it came from the dancers themselves.” Glover said she fulfills a role more akin to a director rather than a choreographer. “The movement itself almost doesn’t matter so much to me as how it is performed.”

Edwards, one of Glover’s dancers, commented on how the dance’s animalistic nature spoke to him. “[Glover]’s piece is more natural movement; … not a lot of it is super dance-y,” he said. “That’s one thing [Glover] stresses. … The lighting designer [Ethan Raduns-Silverstein ’16] described it … like [we] were underwater, and then … creatures running through the forest and then in space.” Edwards’ and the other performers’ efforts result in a “visceral, animalistic, instinctual thing; … not necessarily a specific message,” Edwards said.

Edwards also mentioned that his intensity shifts between dances. As a performer in Colin McArthur’s ’15 piece, which doubles as a component of McArthur’s senior thesis for the dance major, Edwards admitted that part of the piece’s beauty was in its bizarreness. He even mentioned that at times he feels so focused in the piece that his concentration frightens him. Craig-Quijada reported that McArthur’s piece uses original music he composed himself.

Rebecca Varnell’s ’15 piece also uses an original composition written by Sam Graf ’16. While commonalities run through these pieces, there is no premeditated theme.

“[There] are only commonalities we’re able to glean,” Craig-Quijada said. “Dancers have their own things that they’re exploring and the creative process is vastly different from choreographer to choreographer. We try not to necessarily link [pieces] thematically. It’s more like a collage.”

Along with the two pieces featuring original music composition, Craig-Quijada described a bleak, wintry piece by Pankti Dalal ’17 and Stephan Beavers ’15 for Beavers’ senior thesis project. Kiri Staiger’s ’16 piece makes use of devised text that is meant to portray a docent at a museum and communicate the ineffability in art, mirroring the difficulty of accurately describing dance with language.

Craig-Quijada’s own piece, also using devised text, makes use of meta-dance — a dance piece that comments on itself as it goes on. This piece specifically describes the frustrating process of choreographing a piece. “There’s a section called ‘the Disappointment Trios’ where nothing ever quite gets fulfilled,” she said. “Every time you try to do something, you fall, or there’s a miss.” Craig-Quijada, like Glover, did not set out to finish the piece this way — the work revealed itself. “I didn’t set out to make a piece that was about itself while you’re performing it, but that’s kind of what happened and what caught my interest,” she said.

Tickets for the Fall Dance Concert are on sale for $2 in the Bolton Theater Box Office, open 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and also accessible at (740) 427-5546.

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