By Joanna Tavares
The Performance Dance Ensemble class of 2014, along with the Center for Dance, Movement and Somatic Learning had their Spring Concert this weekend.
The performances revolved around hot-button topics like the case of Trayvon Martin and the rise and fall of the Berlin Wall. Through beautiful movements of their own bodies, along with the interactions among the performers, each dancer was able to bring to life the story they were trying to tell.
In this captivating visual of emotion and struggle, the faculty choreographer, Joya Powell, was able to create a space where dancers could take the audience along on a journey of each event as though they experienced it first hand.
“I sat here with my mouth open for most of it,” said Janice Moore-Caputo, mother of one of the dancers. “Particularly, that Trayvon Martin piece was so intense and it was a challenge to watch the performance and also be thinking about the implication of what the artist was trying to communicate.”
Though “Understand Your Ground,” the dance about Martin, seemed to grab much of the audience’s attention, the final draw was “Inner Iron Curtain.” As the final performance of the night, this piece went through the rise and fall of the Berlin Wall.
The dancers were able to tell the story of the families that were torn apart as well as the desperate need to break away from society. Their movements showed the audience how the Wall was not only a physical barrier, but a mental one as well.
To portray this sense of emotional anguish during the era of the iron curtain, the dancers used cardboard boxes to depict different pieces of the wall. Also, their dance movements were very harsh and relied a lot on using each others bodies to transfer weight, lifting up different dancers at climax moments. At the end of the piece, the entire performance ensemble connected together at various levels to create a human-wall, representative of the taking over of the Iron Curtain and its eventual demise.
“It took me by surprise,” said Kiegh Dudley, a student audience member. “It’s not the typical type of dance I’m used to so it opened my eyes to a new experience.”
Along with “Understand Your Ground” and “Inner Iron Curtain,” there were two additional pieces. The first, “Anne and Her Rosas,” focused on using the same series of movement and motifs and manipulating them to mean different things to the audience.
There was also a duo called “Between You and Me,” performed by Scott Peterson and Jennifer Jeng. This piece combined beauty, humor and precision. Though it had no historical stake, it was a nice and uplifting dance set in the middle of the program.