This year’s Faculty Dance Concert, “In Motion,” will consist of five contemporary works choreographed by four members of the Dance Department faculty.
The 90-minute concert featuring performances by 35 HWS students will take place at 8 p.m. on Thursday, April 24, and again on Friday, April 25. The concert will also be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 26. All shows will be held in Winn-Seeley Theater. General admission is $5 at the door.
As part of this year’s concert, Assistant Professor of Dance Kathy Diehl is contributing two works to the concert. The first is a student ensemble with eight dancers.
The original inspiration for the work was the Emily Dickinson poem, “Hope is the thing with feathers.” As Diehl learned more about Dickinson’s life, she became increasingly intrigued by the complex nature of hope – how it is perhaps perpetual, but exists in various stages of accessibility, as well as questions about the relationship between self-preservation and hope; how one releases self-imposed boundaries of hopelessness/despair to reconnect with the sense of self; and the association between hope and interpersonal connection.
For the first work, Diehl decided to create three sections that represent a journey from a place of confinement to one of openness, ultimately recognizing that the experience of hope truly lies within.
Diehl’s second piece in the concert will be a trio danced by Diehl, Assistant Professor of Dance Kelly Johnson and Alaina Olivieri. The piece, “Triangulation,” premiered in 2012 and is an exploration of scholar Murray Bowen’s theory of triangular relationships in family systems. In her previous work as a psychotherapist, Diehl was very interested in this concept as it can be incredibly dysfunctional and was very challenging to resolve in a therapeutic setting due to multiple entrenched distortions of reality. Set to the haunting music of Max Richter, the piece is Diehl’s interpretation of the unpredictability of trust, manipulation, and deception, and the overall destructive nature of triangulation.
Associate Professor of Dance Michelle Iklé’s ensemble project, “Movement Studies,” includes 12 student dancers and reflects her current interest in creating distinctive environments on stage. “Movement Studies” was inspired by movements found in nature and movement signatures found in non-human forms. Similar to an artist’s sketch pad, the two studies serve as a starting point for a larger series of explorations and differ in their detail and complexity. Videoscapes captured and edited by HWS videographer Andrew Markham ’10 provide a visual score for the choreography as the dancers shift into different environments.
Johnson has created a new ensemble work titled, “Dig, Sift and Bury.” The cast for this piece is a collective of students currently enrolled in DAN 955, “Global Dance Techniques,” an upper level course consisting of students who have studied dances of the African Diaspora with Johnson prior and who are continuing to embody the vibrant nuances present in African and Caribbean dance and culture. This year’s cast and choreographer have had the pleasure of collaborating with Trey Jones, a DJ based in Washington, D.C., on a project that reveals the essence of the African presence in contemporary urban dance.
Professor of Dance Cynthia Williams was inspired by a work in Professor of Art Phillia Yi’s 2013 faculty art exhibition: “Fall.” The work, a 82- by 128-inch charcoal drawing on paper, hung from the ceiling of The Davis Gallery at Houghton House, and spilled onto the floor. Captivated by the swirling movement and the multiple metaphors suggested by the title, Williams has been working in conjunction with 14 dancers to create movement phrases inspired by images as diverse as falling angels, Laban Movement Analysis’ “flying and falling” movement scales, falling factorials, falling in love, falling stars, and Yi’s original artwork. Print panel reproductions of the art work hang above the dancers during the piece, and particular sections of the choreography transpose the drawing’s swirls, lines and textures into moving patterns through space.
The music for Williams’ ensemble piece is Steve Reich’s “Cello Counterpoint,” written for and performed by cellist Maya Beiser. Reich notes that he was “delighted to write this for her, the densest and most complicated by far of all my “Counterpoint” pieces.” At times driving and edgy, the music propels the dancers through space and provides moments of lyrical suspension, supporting their on-going rising and falling.
The image above is the charcoal drawing by Professor of Art and Architecture Phillia Yi titled “Fall.”