Skilled dancers graced the ’92 with their presence last weekend as they carried out the visions of four senior Dance Majors: Corey Harrower ’07, Meredith Steinberg ’07, Khalia Frazier ’07, and Lydia Bell ’07.
“Becoming,” choreographed by Harrower, had an undefined beginning and ending. Dancers interacted with one other on the stage before the lights or music came on. The performance only officially began when Sigur Ros began playing over the loudspeaker.
“Swept,” choreographed by Steinberg, painted an idyllic picture of love and tenderness with effortless and comforting motions: dancers supported each other’s heads and hands throughout. Difficult moves appeared effortless and smooth, as when Kieran Kredell ’08 lightly threw Mary Claire Abbot ’09 over his shoulder.
Throughout the piece comforting music and warm soft lighting from the side helped the audience enter Steinberg’s peaceful world that the dancers created.
“Knowing Meredith, I was able to see her shine through the dance,” said Margot Kistler ’09. “The dance was very sincere and unpretentious. She wasn’t trying too hard, which made it very accessible.”
“Coated,” choreographed by Frazier, featured Dante Brown ’09, Samira Abdul-Karim ’07, and Jacqueline Rubenstein ’07. It consisted of video projections, two poetry readings, and music that offered a socially-conscious commentary on race.
“Frazier’s piece was spectacular,” said Omar Davis ’07. “It made me think about social issues and it seemed to have multiple messages it was trying to portray.”
Dressed only in undergarments, the dancers in this piece seemed to be in an odd dream. Common jazz steps were exaggerated to the point where they became grotesque and disturbing: strolling down the street became an act of false happiness. Spotlights lit each dancer individually at the beginning and end of the dance, emphasizing the true isolation of each dancer.
Bell’s “’it broke’ and other stories” displayed a somewhat similar theme to “Swept.” Like Frazier’s dance, the motions at first signified fun and love, but were repeated until they took on new meanings.
“My research interest is in the role and location of emotion on stage,” Bell said. “What emotion do the dancers bring to their performance? What is the audience’s role in perceiving emotion? How does the environment set up by the dance affect these relationships? As I investigated these questions, other themes started to emerge, such as sexual appetite, comfort, and consumption.”
A plate of spaghetti played an unexpectedly important role within the piece. According to Bell, the unusual prop took on added significance to her as the piece developed.
“The idea for using spaghetti came to me very early on in the process,” Bell said. “I knew the image of spaghetti was important to me but I wasn’t sure why. As we created the movement, I became interested in spaghetti as an environmental element and as a cultural symbol.”
“The spaghetti piece was cool because it was different,” Davis said.
In the beginning, all four dancers in the piece approached the spaghetti with a ravenous appetite. As the dance proceeded, however, the dance moves lost their initial spark and became forced repetition. Towards the end, dancer Lila Babb ’07 sat on the floor stuffing her mouth with spaghetti.
At this point, the audience chuckled awkwardly and shifted in their seats. No one seemed to know whether they were supposed to be laughing or silently extrapolating meaning from the dance.
“Many people struggle with the feeling that they have ‘no idea’ what a dance is about since they don’t have dance experience themselves or are intimidated by its abstractness,” Bell said. “I am interested in creating dances that invite audiences to create meaning. Using props, such as spaghetti, grounds the dance in the context of our everyday life, giving the viewer a point of accessibility.”
Frazier and Harrower both noted in the program that the performers helped them choreograph their dances.
“I loved the process of creating the dance,” Babb said. “Meeting people twice a week and jumping on top of them was a great way to get to know them and a great creative release. I always looked forward to rehearsals.”
But, while all the dances posited different questions for the audience, no one could forget that spaghetti.
“I doubt if anyone went home and ate a plate of pasta after that performance,” said Lesley Chapman ’09.