After this weekend’s show, no one could ever accuse the Faculty Student Dance Show of not taking modern risk with dance themes and costumes. The show took place on Saturday, March 24 and Sunday March 25 in Dodd Auditorium and featured an array of pieces choreographed and performed by faculty, students and outside dance companies. A number of pieces were choreographed by UMW’s own dance professors, Beverly Mendez and Roxanne Rowley.
Of course taking risks means very little if those risks don’t translate successfully into interesting dance pieces. Luckily, the Faculty Student Dance Show was successful in this endeavor and made me hungry for more live dance performances on campus.
The show had a number of hands influencing the choreography outside of faculty as well so audience members could be sure that each piece would not be too similar as the show celebrated and showcased a variety of dance styles. The opening piece was jazz-styled and the show continued to progress through contemporary, modern, liturgical and ballet. It was refreshing to see so many styles hit the stage in one concert.
Several of the performances exhibited exceptional use of musicality, such as “Persistent Force”, “Presence”, “Dog Tags”, “Power Trip and Recovery” and “Edge”. The combination of the dancers’ emotional presence and the quality of the music made each of these pieces more poignant. Both the choreographers and the dancers of each of these pieces deserve to take a bow for a job well done.
Some of the other pieces in the show did not share the same success. While I could appreciate the artistic quality of other pieces such as “Mom and Superman” and “Damaged Goods”, the intended meaning and resonance may have been lost in the length of the pieces. Perhaps if these pieces had been shorter and more concise the audience could have connected more readily. For audience members who may not have had a lot of exposure to dance, these pieces might have seemed confusing because of the experimental music and costuming.
One of the most refreshing elements to the show was that it featured dancers who did not conform to the expected body types of dancers. This show celebrated all body types and the natural movement that comes with those bodies. If any of the audience expected dancers who were shorter or more heavyset to be unable to move as well as the typical ballerina, they were no doubt shocked to find that these dancers more than matched up.
Overall, the show was a positive experience and exhibition of art and dance combined. The excitement of seeing live dance is more often than not worth the time and money and whether the show is sponsored by the faculty, the students, or a combination of both, people should give the shows a try.