The rustic retreat of Hammer Song Farm will serve as an unexpected stage for a modern dance performance on Saturday, Sept. 13, from 1-3 p.m. Located a few miles north of Kenyon, the property is home to a well used barn, pine groves and fields.
“The choreographers and dancers were challenged to create choreography that really relied on that exact site as a limitation and as an inspiration,” said Kora Radella, associate professor of dance, who instructed the choreographers. “The dances have been created on site and not in a traditional setting. This forced the choreographers to develop their movement language based on the site versus creating movement in the studio and simply adapting to the site.”
For Stephan Beavers ’15, a history and dance major from Columbus, Ohio, the wispy groves of Hammer Song Farm became a primary inspiration for his choreography. “The work I created draws upon the tall, slender trees as dancers appear and disappear through them,” he said. “The movements are slow, precise and repetitive — much like the paths of the trees that the dancers move around.”
Pankti Dalal ’17, a math major from Southampton, Mass., found the farm engaging on a tactile level and embraced the physicality of both natural and manmade presences on the farm. “While the trees are a unique aspect of the site, the stone bench in the middle is what can catch the eye of the audience,” she said. “There is a stark contrast between the billowing of the trees and the firmness of the bench and that will be reflected in the dancers’ movement.”
The free event will feature four half-hour presentations around Hammer Song Farm, performed by students of technique courses taught by professors of dance Julie Brodie and Balinda Craig-Quijada. It is part of the Knox County Barn Tour, which showcases the region’s historic barns, craftsmen, artists and musicians.
The Hammer Song performance will be the first of two site-specific dances Radella oversees on Saturday, the second being "Pandemonium" at the Cleveland Public Theatre. Choreographed in collaboration with textile artist Rebecca Cross, it will also feature student dancers.
By Matthew Eley ’15