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Fall Dance Concert showcases range of student choreography

Dancers drew inspiration from a wide variety of sources, from Salvador Dali to Radiohead

Video by Kavia Khosla and Maggie Livingstone.

At this weekend’s annual student-choreographed Fall Dance Concert, attendees can expect lots of diversity and energy in all the pieces. The show covers a vast range of styles, including tap, ballet, aerial, modern and traditional Indian dance. Performances are set to assorted musical selections — from Kanye West to classical  —  and incorporate costumes and props that aid the choreographers’ messages.

Produced by Julie Adams Strandberg, senior lecturer in Theatre Arts and Performance Studies, the concert kicks off with “Lyrical,” a dance choreographed and performed by Sonya Gurwitt ’16. Utilizing an aerial hoop, Gurwitt moves fluidly through countless poses showcasing her flexibility, all while holding a book.

Gurwitt uses a book because she wanted to have something else to interact with in the solo piece, she wrote in an email to The Herald. “Reading and aerials are both activities that I love, and for me they are both ways to escape from real life for a little while, so I wanted to try to combine them somehow,” Gurwitt wrote, adding that the piece is meant to portray entering another world through reading.

Two modern dances — “Rail,” choreographed by Nicolas Baird ’14, and “Pah,” choreographed by Tori Wilson ’14 — showcase the use of nontraditional movements. “Rail,” a modern dance piece set to electronic music, incorporates both animalistic and robotic movements, while “Pah,” a lyrical set to the song “Landfill” by Daughter, uses sign language to convey the song’s message.

In “Etc.…,” a contemporary piece set to “15 Step” by Radiohead and choreographed by Emma Russo ’15, chairs are moved into circles or lines, structuring the dance and guiding the performers. The dance builds as it progresses, ending with a single dancer in the center as the rest back away into the wings.

Another group project, “Untitled (Work in Progress),” a modern dance choreographed by Nadia Hannan ’14, is based on two paintings, Jean-Francois Millet’s “The Angelus” and a response by Salvador Dali, “Aurore, Midi, Apres-midi et Crepuscule.” The piece is part of a larger work to be performed in April 2014, Hannan wrote in an email to The Herald.

“Essentially I have used these two paintings and various scholars’ interpretations of these paintings, including Dali’s himself, as a source of inspiration for my piece,” Hannan wrote, adding that the dance was designed to explore some of the ideas these paintings bring up by establishing certain “relationships, gestures and patterns which will be further explored in the larger work.”

“Dancing Along After the Multiplex,” choreographed by Sarah Friedland ’14 is also inspired by another art medium. The five-minute piece features a single dancer sitting in a red theater seat and is an excerpt from a longer 30-minute show that nine dancers will perform in April alongside the work of Hannan, Friedland wrote in an email to The Herald.

The dance looks at the role of gestures in the construction of film genres, including “slasher films, chick flicks and westerns,” Friedland wrote. “This solo tries to perform the moving effects of a film while a viewer is seated in a movie theater. In other words, how do we ‘dance along’ while watching bodies move in films, and how do we keep ‘dancing along’ after watching a movie?” Friedland wrote.

The show ends with the piece “On the Rocks,” choreographed by Jason Addy ’16, Iris Pak ’15, Daniel Choo ’15, Jenny Tsai ’14 and Griffin Hartmann ’15. The dance incorporates multiple songs — Miguel’s “How Many Drinks?,” Justin Timberlake’s “That Girl,” a remix of “Suit & Tie” and Kanye West’s “Blood on the Leaves.” Moving seamlessly between each song, the piece provides an energetic ending to a consistently engaging dance concert.



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