The heavy jangling of anklets, the flash of colorful saris and pounding of feet created a small cacophony in the Hill Theater on Monday night. It was one of many rehearsals for the Fall Dance Concert, to be performed Thursday, Dec. 7 through Saturday, Dec. 9.
This year’s concert is a diverse program, boasting eight pieces — all of varying styles, costumes and music — and six of which are choreographed by students. The opening group, comprised of eight dancers, will present a piece in the Bharatanatyam style, a classical dance form with roots in southern India. The piece is percussive and controlled, each hand motion telling the story of Govardhana Giridhara, a hymn of praise to the deity Krishna. Thanks to Visiting Instructor of Dance Smitha Magal, the department has been excited to be able to incorporate several Indian dances into their concerts over the past two years.
“We welcome and foster versatility in the Department of Dance, Drama and Film,” Professor of Dance Balinda Craig-Quijada said about the various collaborations within the department. For example, Assistant Professor of Drama Tatjana Longerot designed most of the dancers’ costumes, while students in Associate Professor of Drama Rebecca Wolf’s The Lighting Designer class are in charge of the show’s lighting design.
Assistant Professor of Dance Kora Radella will also have her work, Retracing, performed with the composition of Ross Feller, associate professor of music. “Retracing was created with the idea of being tethered yet finding freedom within,” Radella said. “The long cloth of the costume is like an umbilical cord which eventually needs to be shed, yet leaves a permanent imprint on the individual.”
Many students were inspired by their teachers as they established their creative visions. Although faculty direct the show, arrange the production schedule and lead feedback sessions for the choreographers, it is the students who are responsible for organizing their rehearsals and casting, while also communicating with their professors and directors.
Laura David ’18, a dance major who choreographed a piece as part of her senior exercise, attests to the level of commitment needed to produce the concert.
“Most pieces meet twice a week for two hours, and rehearsals are entirely student-run,” David said. “Choreographers and professors meet for hours discussing and critiquing the presented works to provide feedback that can then be brought back to rehearsals.”
Severine Kaufman is the only other senior choreographer. Her piece explores the comforts and discomforts of surveillance.
Yet many different levels of experience are represented, such as the work of sophomores Mackenna Goodrich and Erin Donnelly, who are choreographing for the first time.
Craig-Quijada seems excited for the final product. “The Fall Dance Concert not only enhances our education as movers, but it really brings together and unifies the students and faculty,” she said.
The Fall Dance Concert will be performed Dec. 7, 8 and 9 at 8 p.m. in the Hill Theater.