Dance concert showcases new talent

Joe Bittner, ‘Doah Staff Writer
November 6, 2013

'Doah photo courtesy of Shenandoah Conservatory

‘Doah photo courtesy of Shenandoah Conservatory

Shenandoah University’s dance division performed their Fall Dance Concert throughout the weekend of Oct. 25. Dance Division Chair, Erica Helm, looked to spotlight two new choreographers and part-time faculty members –Bob Boross and Tiffanie Carson, hoping to impress the staff and show off their capabilities. Boross showcased two pieces while Carson premiered one piece. The remaining faculty, Ting-Yu Chen, Maurice Fraga and Alan Arnett, each choreographed one piece for the concert. Lastly, Mike Esperanza, a guest choreographer, presented a new work portrayed with a variety of stylistic choices.

Send Your Love (premiered in 2011) by Bob Boross was the first piece of the concert. With a futuristic theme, a single dancer started center stage with a spotlight. Slowly, more dancers joined her. Teal dresses flourished across the stage as dancers reached out into the crowd, staring off into the portion of space that the backdrop portrayed.

The next piece, “Fighting Same Differences,” was choreographed Ting-Yu Chen. This piece was a spotlight for all freshmen in the division. While some freshmen danced in multiple pieces, this ensured all new dancers had a piece to showcase their talent. The piece focused on struggle, circled through resolve and relapse, only to end with the struggle it started in.

Boross’s second piece was “Mercy Street,” which premiered in 2001. This Jazz piece showed confidence and intimidation from the beginning with senior Nicholas Brock wearing a full black suit and moving his hips like Shakira. This theme carried throughout the piece, mimicked by all dancers as they continuously surrounded and oppressed senior Marilla Burnham. As she danced through her suffering, she slowly built confidence. This confidence surmounted at the end as she prevails with gleaming self assurance.

Mike Esperanza, a guest artist for the dance fraternity Sigma Rho Delta, choreographed “Through a Pinhole.” Esperanza is the head artistic director of BARE Dance Company in New York. During a four-day visit at Shenandoah, he worked with all of the dancers in SRD and learned their strengths and weaknesses. After Esperanza returned to New York, Carson helped lead the rehearsals. This piece showed obscene occurrences you could run across in New York City. One section showed passengers on the subway, a train, a tennis court and finally a plane.

The fastest way to get from one destination to another is a straight line, but is that always the best way? “Tactics,” a work in progress by Maurice Fraga, addressed this next. He used a male and female cast that performed on different nights. The piece emphasized the importance to take every opportunity you are presented the detours in life. The piece showed the strength and athleticism of both casts with lots of weight sharing and lifts.

Tiffanie Carson’s piece was entitled “Causal Effect.” She wanted the viewers to have a vision in their heads prior to seeing the piece. A description on the program reads: “What if there were an alternate version of you? What if, just across some invisible boundary, there is another you, similar in so many ways but no exactly the same? What if?” This was very appropriate for the piece. Each dancer was tied to a partner by an elastic band as they mimicked each other’s move. The dancing built up until all of the bands were intertwined. With one pull, the dancers stood in a circle and revealed crossed lines with their partners. As suspension built, the bands were set free as they released.

Alan Arnett choreographed the final piece, “Rock U.” This piece was a culmination of classic rock songs: “We Will Rock You,” “Bad to the Bone,” “Born to Be Wild,” “Back In Black,” “You’re No Good” and “Black Betty.” Throughout these sections, the dancers were dressed as “rockers.” Girls wore lace and short skirts while the boys wore leather jackets. The constant underlying sensuality only enhanced the attitude of being “bad.”

The performance was nothing short of spectacular. The energy the dancers portrayed their love of art. Dancing expresses their inner emotions and the audience was lucky enough to witness it. Make sure to be at Ohrstrom-Bryant Theatre during the weekend of Jan. 24 for “Adrenaline:” the 2014 Senior Dance Concert so you can experience just how amazing these dancers are!

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