Audience applauds ‘Whimsy’ on stage
Dance concert showcases drama, humor, skill
Published: Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, April 24, 2012 11:04
Audiences applauded as the dance department combined humor and classic ballet on stage this past weekend in this semester’s dance Spectrum concert titled "Whimsy".
"La Spectre de la Rose," originally choreographed by Michel Fokine in 1911, exhibited an intimate personification between a young woman and her rose. Senior dance major Shohei Iwahama embodied the rose with graceful pressure and precise technique to a piano waltz titled "Invitation to Dance" by Carl Maria von Weber.
Freshman Dance Major Demario Scimio explained that Iwahama’s performance showed classic ballet style.
"Because it’s a classical dance there’s not a lot of dramatic expression," said Scimio. "It was to appreciate the technique."
Katy Connor accompanied Iwahama as a young lady dreaming of her affectionate duet with her rose. Connor’s role maintained the simplicity of the duet while harmonizing with Iwahama with grace and elegance.
Another piece titled "There are things we don’t share" by Erin Reck was a tearful set that silenced the audience. Dancers approached front stage dressed in casual attire spanning the entire stage. Arranged to Jeff Buckley’s rendition of "Hallelujah," the piece unfolded the hardened layers of repressed despair held by ordinary people.
Expressed with short, restrictive gestures and sullen faces, "There are things we don’t share" highlighted problems and insecurities of common people and their routine lifestyles. The use of vocals by Amy Wright and compulsive counting of numbers pronounced her anxiety and obsession of order.
"It’s emotional," second year graduate dance student David Deveau said. "[There’s] a lot of constricted movement. It’s about letting go."
Deveau led the set, humming "Hallelujah", and then concluded with boisterous movements breaking the restraints of past gloom.
"Mine was about my anger from my divorce," Deveau said.
"Strata," choreographed by Dana Nicolay and Alicia Marie Carlin, as well as the cast, was one of the most dramatic pieces of the show.
Haunting lights lit the stage while dancers moved under a cloth that stretched and billowed from the ceiling.
The acrobatic performance was comparable to the artists of Cirque Du Soleil with awe-shocking contortions from the dancers while dangling from delicate ropes of cloth. "Strata" dove deep into the origins of the world. It explored the chaotic order stemming from beauty and harmony consumed by deranged forces.
"It’s the evolution of civilization," Scimio said.
Junior theater major Katie Fritz, who sat close to the stage, said the unique eeriness of "Strata" provoked feelings of anxiety and nervousness.
"It was ritualistic at points," Fritz said. "I felt nervous because I didn’t want the dancers above me to fall."
Compared to last semester’s "Precipice", "Whimsy" showed polished precision and strict timing with composed unity across the stage in the opening ballet piece "Les Sylphides: Excerpts and Interpretations. Dancer Adorina Nguyen was phenomenal, executing impressive footwork and points.
The audience applauded "Whimsy" for the diversity showcased by the dance department at Sam Houston State University.
SHSU’s Dance Program’s next event is a non-majors dance show on April 30 in the Gaertner Performing Arts Center.
The semester will conclude with Senior Showcase and Awards Ceremony on May 2 in the GPAC. For more information visit http://www.shsu.edu/~dnc_www/.