Dance – Performance Essay
Dance – Performance
New Moves, choreographed and performed by the students of the Cornish College of the Arts at the Broadway Performance Hall amazed me with how the dancers were able to express emotional moments in nature and life through various dance techniques. The first piece, Tiger Lily 96 performed by Elise Laundles and Collen McNeary, contains two young female dancers simulating birds hatching as they transform their bodies from being trapped in the egg to a great bird spreading its wings.
The two dancers lay on the ground curled up in balls only to simultaneously wriggle their torsos in circle motions and twitch their shoulders and necks in a strong effort to break free of their shells. They proceed to jolt upright from their low level into a high level standing position, and gently spread their arms out from their sides up and apart from their bodies, extending their arms and fingertips like great birds spreading their wings.
Enlightened with the immense power of their newly formed wings, the two dancers fly around the stage, flapping their arms smoothly yet with strong effort, traveling across the whole stage back and forth as they glide jumping from toe-tip to toe-tip using ballet-like techniques. The contrasting element of the dancers being curled up in stagnant balls on the gourd and the dancers transforming into birds flying around the stage using the entirety of the available space enticed me and the fellow audience members as the dance moves continually changed.
La Fine del Passato, the next performance by Sean Rosato, expresses moments of death in which a man cannot get over the death of his ex-lover as the women in black aggressively holds the women in gold back from embracing the man. The gold, symbolizing the present day, and the black, symbolizing the past, costumes help the audience conceptualize this true dance of deep and dark feelings. The Exterior Layers of What has Formed to Me, surprised me with the richness and technique used by these six young female dancers in celebrating the female body.
The six female dancers sit on the ground separately, spread out in three different columns, and begin to feel their bodies gently as they clasp their hands on their chest, neck, and back. They warmly embrace their individual bodies as if assuring themselves that they have beautiful womanly bodies. Next, the six female dancers twist their bodies quickly to the side and stand on their feet as they raise their upper bodies to a straight position followed by their extended arms slowly rising above their heads.
The effect of the women being naked with their limbs spread apart widely dramatically helps the audience understand the true beauty of the female body. The female dancers proceed to rub their breasts with both hands as they glide their fingertips and arms across the top and bottom of their breasts in opposite directions. The lighting of the set is focused on the frontal side of all the female dancers in an effort to focus the audiences eyes on the women’s bodies.
The technique of a stagnant body position, as the dancers are nude, allows the audience to focus on the upper bodies of the female dancers which helps to express and celebrate the true beauty and elegance of the female body. In Gestalt, by Richard Peacock, the dancers perform sharp, crisp, and quick thrusts of the torso followed by the legs as they collide in an entangle of collared plaid shirts and tight pants, only to then separate and simultaneously lunge their legs out strongly then throw them high in the air up and over their heads.
Matt Drew’s Source utilizes lighting that represents a cell in a dark jail to focus on the lone female dancer who struggles to rip off the many layers of clothes she is wearing. With quick jagged and angular jolts of her elbows and arms followed by wild flailing of her legs, the female dancer expresses distress and anger as she must deal with the difficulties of living in a jail cell. Metallic Overload, by Cody Evans, express moments of happiness as two male dancers, dressed as Mario and Luigi, simulate racing on the tracks of the Super Mario Brothers video game.
By running quickly and jumping straight into the air frequently, almost freely, in figure eight motions around the entirety of the stage, Mario and Luigi express this joy and light mood. Flammeum Infectum, with Kyle Edmond’s, expresses aggression and fighting as two female dancers, dressed in black, punch their fists towards one another while they sharply jolt their heads back as if receiving each other’s punches. The strong effort used in the punches and the quick twists of the neck and heads helps the audience to truly visualize a fight and the impact it has on the body.
Finally, Paroxysm of Unforgivable Passion, with Deborah Corrales, contains two female dancers working vigorously and using all of their effort to toss heavy flour bags in a set formation on the stage. The dancers glide the back of their hands across their foreheads to wipe off the seat as to express the strain and difficulty of working so hard. The women utilize a contrast of quick and sharp thrusts of the torso followed by shooting out their arms as they toss the flour bags, with slow backwards walks, dragging their feet heavily along the ground as they sluggishly complete the task at hand.
All of these pieces in New Moves surprised me with how good the dancers were able to express emotional moments in nature and life through various dance techniques, lighting, stage effects, and costumes. Lastly, the students of Cornish that choreographed and performed these various pieces have truly made me appreciate how much effort and hard work goes into creating dance pieces and I aspire to be like these dancers.
University/College: University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 19 February 2017
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