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Dance Concert

By krnlookalyke Nov 19, 2008 1224 Words
The Falling Into Pieces Dance Concert performed March 25, 2007 was a blend of five distinct dances, each communicating a different message through the use of varying choreography and stage production arrangements. The concert’s opener Gasp depicts a resistance to bounds that hold one down. It’s All About Falling, the second piece, dealt with the concept of a transition from struggle and anguish to hope. The third dance piece, titled Holding Still, Tracing Past Moments, attempted to explore an abstract situation with key compositional motives that are continually repeated. Through the use of choreography, music, and props the graduate dance group performance expressed a mixture of what could be in the broader picture emotional experiences that individuals experience in their lives. Gasp, choreographed by Dana Berk, created an effect of suffocation and struggling to break the bounds that inflict restriction. The use of heavy gasping and panting for air in the opening video clip serves as a device to take the audience into the moment; in allowing the viewing of a woman who appears to be trapped, the viewer is thus eased into and allowed to share in the emotional sensations the woman undergoes. Partaking in this consciousness of moving violently, thrashing and skirmishing about with great effort in a tunnel with no means of escape sets the scene for the emergence of the dancers. Their black costumes serve to reinforce the idea of an exertion of resistance to not much avail. Here the color aids in emphasizing the complexity in the brawl. Sharp, jerky motions such as crawling on the ground pushing the block across stage seem to require much force and strength – thus alluding to problematic and tough task of opposing the conflict. One example that illustrates this repression is found in the dancers’ frantic sprints across the stage, which contributes to the effect of struggle and urgency – helping build the momentum. Dancers also try to climb onto the line of black blocks but are pulled off by other dancers. This demonstrates a motif of the concept of constant wrestling, fighting and resistance. Thrashing about violently through actions such as spinning and constant movement of the head causes hair to be spun about wildly, which communicates confusion and a violent determination. There is a varying in the unity and disorganized nature of the dancers. At certain times they are together – for example, standing in a straight line with the boxes together in a line, as well. Other times, they are scattered as individuals across the stage when heaving and pushing the boxes. Somewhat similarly, It’s All About Falling communicated a sense of despair, struggle, and uneasiness, transitioning from that to a glimmer of hope at the end. This particular piece was choreographed by Charlotte Boye-Christensen and the setting contributed largely to the aura of the performance. Dim, gray lighting reinforced the idea of desolation and gloom. Also, the position of the body – for example, the dancer lying on his back – seemed to place the dancer in an oppressed state. He reaches arms up as if seeking aid from heaven and fluid movement such a slithering created a sense of being easily swayed or manipulated. Recurring pattern of falling and rising is a motif in this piece. It seems as though the entrance and exit are the most rigid and tense parts of It’s All About Falling and the message it gives in entering and exiting from opposite sides of the stage is a connotation of moving along and making progress. As he enters and exits, he is strutting in small steps with arms completely extended down at his sides. This suggests he begins and ends very strong-willed and seems to communicate the idea that he is not easily faltered or that he begins strong, struggles, and in the end is able to pull himself back together and upright. The choice of costume is also interesting. He is clad in dim red apparel: pants that extend to his feet and a sleeveless shirt. The fact that he is not dressed in gray or black-colored clothing is significant because it signifies strong will and ability to recuperate. This is exemplified in the general pattern of the dance in that he begins quite stable in the beginning and ends that way, as well. Falling Into Pieces’ Holding Still, Retracing Past Moments creates an abstract effect that rather than communicating a message of flashback glances, seems to focus and concentrate on the relationships between the individual dancers. For example, this is shown through intertwining of the dancers while traveling through the space. These dancers are separating themselves and spaces between them by variations between soloist and group. A motif in this dance is that the dancers will be located together staggered upstage right facing away from the audience and drifting between each other like fluttering leaves in the wind. During these scenes, an illusion and feeling of lightness is created. Among the key compositional things that repeat include Erin Longhofer’s use of choreographer in which one dancer is lying sprawled on the ground and another dancer rolls over away from the audience the dancer sprawled flat on the ground. Gender plays a role in this strategic move. It in a way highlights the relationships created by the dancers such as female and female or male and male or female and male. This interaction between the dancers automatically signals an indication of the nature of the relationship between the two. In conjunction to this, Holding Still, Tracing Past Moments also contains scenes where the man is leaned back with knees bent and upper body loose and not tense. He is leaning into a woman who is kneeled down on the ground with her right knee on the ground and left knee bent and supported by resting and shifting her weight partially onto her left foot. Her arms, bent, are close to her side and hand placed on the man’s upper body from behind to support his weight backwards. In both of these two instances, a relationship is highlighted because there is another dancer who is present, but not a member of the primary duo. However, the piece also contains moments depicting unity verses individuality. For example, in one scene three of the dancers face downstage towards the audience in a straight line. They stand legs hip width apart and the individual in the front has his head tilted back and back bent extended backwards over his shoulders on the sides his head towards the dancer behind him. This clearly indicates a relationship between the three dancers where there is a leader and follower. One dancer initiates movement and the others react and respond to that in other movements. Thus these three dances: Gasp, It’s All About Falling, and Holding Still, Tracing Past Memories conveyed emotions ranging from suffering to collapsing to resisting and in each they shared the similarity of highlighting the relationships of dancers to each other. Each individual dance gave a message of distinct qualities, and yet the costumes, choreography, and lighting also contributed to the overall unified emotional effect created by the performance. Overall, the intricate components of Falling Into Pieces all fit together well in offering an effect of allowing the audience to experience through the dancers’ depictions emotions of everyday life.

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