Senior Thesis Dance Concert: Mirrors, Motion, and Multimedia
This weekend, four senior dancers performed their compositions as part of the Senior Thesis Dance Concert in the ’92 Theater.
Nik Owens ’12 collaborated with Sally Williams ’14 to choreograph his piece, entitled “Reflection in Two Parts.” The performance included a classical quartet piece, but much of the dancing was done in accompaniment with the voices and sounds of Owens and Williams. The two mimicked each other’s movements, physically mirroring each other face-to-face. In addition to creating physical reflections of one another, the piece gave each dancer a chance to personally reflect on his or her feelings about performance. While imitating one another, Sally questioned Nik as to why he looks at the audience while he performs. Nik described his acceptance of the audience’s presence and its inclusion in the process of performing. The duo also included the audience by providing commentary on what the audience looked like and how it made them feel, as well as providing the same commentary on one another. The piece provided an honest display of the thoughts of a performer.
The concert continued with “...Otherwise We Are Lost,” choreographed by Hsiao-Tung Huang ’12 and performed by Sarah Wolfe ’12, Sandy Yudhistira ’12, and Angela Mann ’13. Huang included the use of taiko drumming in her score, performed by Jon Saalfield ’12 and Fumi Tanakadate ’12. A captivating section of the piece came when Yudhistira conducted movements in perfect rhythm with the drumming, making it appear as if he were creating the sound. This use of movement to create a visual of what was physically not there was continued through the end of the piece. The performance ended with Wolfe running repeatedly to Yudhistira, who had suddenly become rock solid. Wolfe was unable to break through, and the lights fade on Mann who was approaching Yudhistira slowly—a contrast to Wolfe’s desperate attempts to break through. These uses of movement transformed a blank stage into an environment filled with emotion and activity.
“Isare” by Naadu Bentsi-Enchill ’12 followed in the program. The piece began with a poem written by Bentsi-Enchill echoing through the theater and creating a beautiful depiction of an island. Bentsi-Enchill’s solo performance created movement that was reminiscent of water. Her arms and back moved in a wave-like motion, alternating between slow and fast movements. Bentsi-Enchill also made the unique choice to include film in her performance. The film was provided by Yinka Taiwo-Peters ’12, and included captivating footage of Bentsi-Enchill dancing in black and white while her poem was heard in the background. The inclusion of a variety of artistic medias into the piece created a stimulating performance.
To close the concert, James Gardella ’12 performed an original piece entitled “Indelible.” Gardella’s seemingly effortless flexibility was highly impressive, and his movements were loose and unrestricted. Running in circles with his arms extended, Gardella created the image that he was about to take flight—it seemed possible that, at any moment, his feet would leave the stage and he would fly into the air. Before the blackout, Gardella approached the stage and motioned as if he werecarrying something and bringing it to the audience. This was a succinct and perfect ending to the concert, as if it were the final presentation of the gift of art being given to the spectators.
With this gift, the Senior Theses performance ended, although the audience’s minds kept running in attempts to process all it had seen. The thesis dancers managed to produce beautiful pieces, but also succeeded in making their spectators think.