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Choreography, composition and completion: Two dance concerts round out semester of movement for dance department

Jessica Moes, A&E Editor

Choreography Showing:

Students from the Dance Department choreography course and the music department course on composition will showcase a semester of collaboration at the dance department’s Choreography Showing on Friday, Dec. 13. The show will incorporate live music with meaningful movement.

Students from the two courses were paired during the fall semester and worked together to create a final piece that will encompass the interdisciplinary nature of the final show.

“This is a really challenging project because, for most of the students, this is the first time they’ve ever had complete control on choreographing a full piece,” said Karina Culloton ’15, the teacher’s assistant for the choreography course. “It’s even more challenging for them to have to collaborate with a musician so that the project is inspired by both artists equally.”

Culloton is also crafting a piece for the show titled “…i (we).” The piece will focus on the unique story of the individual and what happens when unique stories collide with one another.

Most students who are pursuing a dance major take the choreography course during their sophomore year, enabling the class to bond in a particular way that will continue to inspire collaboration among dancers in future years. Class members have the unique opportunity to examine their peers’ creative processes and modes of inspiration.

The pieces in the concert aim to reflect these inspirations, thoughts and ideas that the individual dancers and composers struggle with in their daily lives, both outside and inside the classroom.

“Our dance faculty is very good at holding us accountable for the art we make and ensuring that we are not presenting something unless it has been completely thought out,” Culloton said. “Therefore, the pieces in the Choreography Showing represent things we’ve wrestled with and thought hard about.”

The Choreography Showing will be performed Dec. 13 at 7 p.m. in Wagner Bungaard Studio One.

Senior Dance Concert: “what words can/not”

Five senior dance majors will showcase four years of movement-related education in capstone performances at this year’s senior dance concert: “what words can/not.” A finale to the dance major and a significant component of the department’s senior seminar course, the concert aims to  articulate how “words and movement shape each other’s meaning to create a multidimensional form of communication,” according to the participants’ collective statement of focus for the concert.

The seniors were directly responsible for setting up a faculty committee for the show last spring, setting collective goals and crafting the show’s theme. Individuals auditioned dancers in September and chose their own music and lighting designs.

Two styles of performances will be showcased. Ashley Yergens ’14, Kelsey Daly ’14, Julia Moser-Hardy ’14 and Meg Kirchhoff ’14 have choreographed small-group pieces which will be performed by members of the department’s CompanyDance. Moriah McFarland ’14 will perform a solo developed under the guidance of a commissioned choreographer. Pieces are inspired from the dancers’ experiences, passions and educational journeys. Aspects of this exploration include dance therapy as a means to build vocabulary and body metaphors in life experiences.

Kirchhoff’s piece, “Seek,” will struggle with the notion of vulnerability. She has worked with six dancers over the semester,  meeting three times a week to work on movement and meaning. Dancers were asked to keep journals reflecting on their personal experiences with vulnerability and to focus on how the emotion can be channeled to promote agency instead of passivity.

“Vulnerability is often associated with weakness, and while I do think there is melancholy in vulnerability, it is ultimately a sign of beauty, strength and courage,” Kirchhoff said.

McFarland’s solo piece was choreographed by Sarah Steichen ’08 and aims to encompass both of their faiths. The process included reading scripture, praying and sharing meaningful reflection.

“Ultimately, the piece ended up being about our journey to surrendering all that we are to God,” McFarland said.

The senior dance concert aims to represent the dance department as a whole.

“Because we’re a small department, we are able to develop a community that pushes all dancers to take on leadership roles, work outside their realm of comfort,  think creatively and work collaboratively,” Kirchhoff said.

“what words can/not” will be performed Dec. 11 and 12 at 7:30 p.m. in Kelsey Theater. The concert is free and open to the public. Doors open at 7 p.m.

 

moes@stolaf.edu


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