Collaborations, Improvisations, InspirationsGAMBIER, Ohio (May 3, 2011)
Live music, international influences, doo-wop, and the recreation of a historically renowned dance are just a few of the pleasures that will inspire viewers of the 2011 Spring Dance Concert, performed May 5 through 7 in Bolton Theater.
The concert opens with "Kalangkang," the final work of senior dance major Paulina Gutierrez of Mexico City, Mexico. The title, meaning illusion, takes its name from music to be played by Kenyon's Indonesian gamelan ensemble on instruments originating in Bali and Java. Gutierrez, a member of Kenyon's Indonesian gamelan ensemble class this year, says that her choreography is "inspired by my admiration for Asian art-architecture, sculpture, music , and, of course, dance." The dance movement and the music developed separately at first, but eventually the dancers and musicians came together to compose a unified piece.
Shelley Fort '11 of Gambier, Ohio, and Chauncey Harrison '11 of New York City co-choreographed a quartet called "Evolution from the Mirror." In rehearsals the dancers combined the choreography with improvisation and writing exercises that examined their own intimate experiences, producing a work that explores the themes of being observed and observing.
Carrie Brueck '00 returned to Kenyon to teach and choreograph "Enotroupe" for the trio of Kathleen Bires '11 of Chattanooga, Tennessee; Delaney Lowman '11 of Saint Louis, Missouri, and Sarah Lass '13 of Denver, Colorado. The piece incorporates a video collage of water imagery collected at the Kokosing River, creating a meditative environment of movement that flows, swirls, and ebbs.
Laura Miller '11 choreographed "The Way You Hold Me Lately," whose six dancers portray the awkwardness of hormonal teenagers at a high school dance to a score of Sixties doo-wop music by Otis Redding, the Shirelles, and The Five Satins. Miller says, "My dancers helped to generate a lot of movement by calling upon some of their own awkward experiences in middle school and high school. I created an environment of being watched and watching others, and I think their self-consciousness is very clear."
Senior Delaney Lowman has worked all year with dance professor Julie Brodie on an interpretation of "The Shakers," originally choreographed by Doris Humphrey in 1930 and representing the religious group named and known for dancing during their meetings to literally shake away their sins. Lowman and Brodie worked with the Labanotation of the piece, the system of notation used to write out dance, as written by Ann Hutchinson Guest in 1948, in order to interpret and reconstruct the dance for this concert. As part of the process, the dancers were coached by Odette Blum, Notator and Professor Emeritus of Dance at The Ohio State University. "The Shakers" will be performed by a cast of thirteen dancers, accompanied by four musicians.
Six dancers bring to life professor Balinda Craig-Quijada's "Chaise," a series of vignettes of varying tones and moods involving the manipulation of chairs, an ironing board, and the music of Belgian singer-songwriter Jacques Brel.
Robbie Letzler '12 of Atlanta, Georgia, choreographed "Sleepy Sentinel." The piece, he said, "responds to our ideas of comfort, confusion, violence, support, and all the other things that are felt when bodies reach out for each other." Letzler's seven dancers were "game to meet me halfway creatively and respond honestly to the movement ideas we researched together."
As a longstanding tradition, the concert closes with the senior piece. Visiting choreographer Molly Shanahan lived at Kenyon for a week, teaching dance classes and working with twelve senior dancers on her piece "Monarchs of an Impermeable Kingdom." The work represents a collaborative effort by Shanahan and the dancers, who created movement of their own through improvisational and exploratory exercises. The movement quality and relationships seen among the dancers on stage reflect the nostalgic, fond sentiments of the graduating class.
The Spring Dance Concert will be performed May 5, 6 and 7 at 8:00 p.m. in the Bolton Theater. Ticket prices are: $5 general admission; $2.50 group; $2 seniors/non-Kenyon students/children; and $1 Kenyon students. Call the box office at 740-427-5546 to purchase tickets.
by Cate Flanagan '11