Comprised of two acts, programs A&B, Bates’ Department of Theater and Dance spring dance concert was sensational. Program A of the concert “What We Find,” directed by Associate Professor and Director of Dance Rachel Boggia and Visiting Assistant Professor of Dance Julie Fox, ended March on a lively note. Nothing surpasses the pleasure of watching the students you regularly pass in Commons or spend diligent hours studying with, move their bodies in expressive ways on stage.
All of the pieces were meticulously choreographed and brought to life by the fluid bodies of Bates dancers. Composed of eight dances like: Mallory Cohen’s ’17 Saturated: four movement poems, a combination of poetry and dance, Elizabeth Lau’s, who teaches Dance 270, composition of hip hop in A Better Tomorrow, and Riley Hopkins’ ’18 amusing How’s your semester going?. The concert was full of talent.
As the lights dimmed and the audience quieted down, the stage lights illuminated a soft white on dancers: Sydney Anderson ’20, Charlotte Cramer ’19, Shae Gwydir ’20, Rebecca Howard ’19, and Louisa Woodhouse ’19. They seamlessly performed Mallory Cohen’s piece, Saturated: four movement poems. The dancers moved across the stage in ethereal grey dresses that flowed with their movements. Senior Lecturer in Theater, Managing Director of Theater and Dance, Lighting Designer and Set Designer Michael Reidy’s lighting highlighted individual dancers while softly illuminating others. The dancers found a variety of creative ways to use the single prop of a bench. While most would find it difficult to see beyond the concrete inflexibility of a wooden bench, the dancers used it for support and stability through their movements.
Phasing on and off the stage, the dancers evoked anticipation throughout the crowd. There were sequences of repeated movements that brought on different feelings and emotions, transferring from the dancers’ facial expressions to the audience’s reaction. As a result, the audience was never left bored because no movement was predictable.
Moreover, the performers’ motions were smooth and connected. Cohen’s dance was accompanied by echoes of Iain S. Thomas poem “I wrote this for you PLEASEFINDTHIS” in the background. The choreography was a momentous representation of the poem. The audience could see the trust and commitment the dancers had with one another as they moved on and around each other. I could feel audience members gasping as a dancer leaped or dropped her weight; nevertheless, dancers always controlled the weight shifts. The dancers finished in a strong triangular position. Anchored in a theme of connection, the dance was empowering.
Shortly following, the audience was mesmerized by Lau and other dancer’s energetic dance A Better Tomorrow. This performance was an explosion of hip movements and bright colors. The seventeen dancers radiated energy throughout the stage as they grooved to 2Pac, Queen Latifah, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, and Faith Evans. The style of the dance was loose, powerful, and fast — it made you want to take a hip-hop class.
The concert closed with Hopkins’ humorous and funky How’s your semester going? The five dancers, including Hopkins himself, displayed the comfort they established with each other as they engaged in eccentric movements. Hopkins’ choreography reflected the hard work the Advanced Composition dance class provided. The dance was inspired by the shallow conversations we have with people we commonly pass.
Hopkins wanted to create a “piece that revealed what we really want to say when we have these superficial, socially constructed conversations.” Although the piece did evoke laughter from the audience, Hopkins claims that he “didn’t necessarily want my piece to evoke specific emotions from the audience.” However, he did want the audience to reflect on their “own day to day small talk with people they run into and what those conversations are actually covering up.” The dance provoked and engaged the audience, a result for which every choreographer strives to achieve.
As a whole, the show displayed insurmountable talent. I highly recommend that students attend the next dance concert to absorb the creations and creativity of their peers.
Dancers strike a strong pose that sets the tone for the show.
JAMES MACDONALD/THE BATES STUDENT
Walking across the stage, performers project strength.
JAMES MACDONALD/THE BATES STUDENT