Fall Dance Concert full of novel choreography, energy

Eleven student pieces run the gamut of styles of dance

By
Friday, November 21, 2008

Three female dancers, all in white, filtered out onto the bare stage of Ashamu Dance Studio. With no accompaniment besides their breath, an occasional word or phrase – “A,” “One,” “Are we there yet?” – and the sound of bare feet scuffing the floor, they performed an abstract and intriguingly enigmatic composition, titled “Experiment in Voice and Breath.”

The work, by Meg Weeks ’11, was just one of 11 student-choreographed pieces on the program for the Fall Dance Concert, which opened last night in Ashamu. The sense of exploration seen in “Experiment” imbued the whole show, making for an exciting survey of student dance in a diverse range of styles.

The concert, which ran just over an hour, began with “CHRGR,” choreographed by Joelle Murphy ’11. This large group work – set to the song “Seventeen Years” by the electro duo Ratatat – showed a compelling responsiveness to the structures of expansion and contraction in the music. The mood here was mostly athletic and propulsive, and it made for a strong opening number.

“Sail Away,” by Katie O’Brien ’11, succeeded in surprising the audience with the simple but unexpected. At one moment, for instance, entering a pose, the dancers bounced three times on one foot. This hesitant, evocative gesture seemed to say a lot with an economy of means.

The next piece, Herald columnist Rachel Forman’s ’09 “In Twos,” took an exuberantly beautiful Philip Glass score and translated the composer’s rhythmic and tonal repetitions into cells of movement that became iterated and transposed over the course of the piece. “In Twos,” which hinted at narrative without ever stating it explicitly, benefited from an evocative lighting design by Erik Maser ’11.

A solo piece, undergraduate Tsveta Krumova’s “Ocean,” followed. Krumova set herself a remarkable challenge with this intensely focused work, which seemed to require immense control in yoga-likesequences.

The first half of the program ended with a performance by Amira, Brown’s belly dance group, and a piece by Liviya Kraemer ’10 set to music from the Broadway musical “The Lion King.”

The second act began with a tap piece by Carolyn Siegel ’11 and included Keith Monach’s ’09 “Dynamic Equilibrium,” which was “somewhat inspired by a variety of first person shooter video games,” according to the choreographer’s statement.

Works by Meaghan Caulfield ’10 – to music of the Harlem Boys Choir – and Dan Lurie ’11 were also featured. Lurie’s “Ta Douleur,” set to songs by the French vocalist Camille, closed the show with a feeling of repose developing into swirling motion as the singer repeated the words, “Leve-toi” – “Wake up, wake up.” It was an exciting and effective conclusion to the concert.

The Fall Dance Concert runs through Nov. 23, with performances at 8 p.m. tonight and Saturday and at 2 p.m. on Sunday in Ashamu.