Allegheny’s dance and movement studies department is presenting its annual spring concert at the Montgomery Performance Space on Thursday, April 10 through Saturday, April 12 at 8 p.m.
This program brings together students on campus with varying levels of dance experience and interests. With the variety of dances, this year’s concert also relates the dance themes to Allegheny’s bicentennial theme, Year of Civil Rights. Along with this year’s focus on themes, the concert also features live music during performances.
“Our concert has something for everyone in terms of entertainment,” said Eleanor Weisman, assistant professor of the dance and movement studies department, “Some dances will push the audience to think about dance as an art form.”
Choreographers include Betsey Sumerfield, an instructor in the dance and movement studies department, James Reedy, an instructor and conceiver of “Crossing”, as well as Weisman.
The dances range from contemporary to ballroom and everything in between. It also features a new development of dance, Butoh, which is featured in the piece “Shingles.”
Allegheny alumni, Jacqueline Shannon, ’10, and community member Doug Lodge choreographed “Shingles.”
“A lot of the images are about death and awkwardness and it’s very provocative…partly to shock the audience,” said Weisman.
Along with “Shingles,” “Crossing” is a contemporary dance piece. Danced by Kassandra Krason, ’15, and conceived by Reedy, it consists of restrictive movements and improvisation.
“James had a dream about this over winter break and approached me. He saw me doing this piece where I was bound from the waist down, my arms free flowing,” said Krason.
With being bound, Krason says each performance of her piece will be different because it is based on improvisation and expression. More importantly, the restrictiveness of the dance symbolizes the struggles of life.
“People can notice how much effort it takes to walk and make steps and transfer that to their own life journey,” said Krason. “The bound-ness represented the boundaries of one’s life journey and how that can translate to them watching the dance.”
Following “Crossing” and “Shingles” is Weisman’s piece “Movement Rights: Voices of Embodying Democracy.” The piece features eight dancers, alternating between group choreography and solo pieces. The dance follows the theme of Civil Rights and is a showcase of the exploration of justice. The dancers came in with quotes that were meaningful to them about human and civil rights.
The piece was performed last Friday, April 4, for the Democracy Realized Conference.
Weisman is incredibly proud of this group of students, hoping this dance will continue the dialogue after the concert.
“It’s about not being able to find words to express their struggle for justice, which is really cool because my dance is with Allegheny students and we’re also trying to explore and make some meaning out of the legacy of civil rights,” Weisman said.
Following the first half of the program is Summerfield’s dances, which surround The Beatles theme. Her other dances include participation from her ballroom courses.
Akeem Bridgeman, ’16, a ballroom student, is thankful for the experience his courses and the concert have given him, whether it be bonding or learning.
“It’s been a long eye opening semester. From day one in our ballroom class we had one goal: the spring concert,” said Bridgeman. “It turned to hours of evening rehearsals, inevitably creating a family of great dancers. It’s been fun and it’s been eye opening.”