A preview of “Spring Dance Concert: Future Reflections” by Allison Hurd ’11.
This Friday and Saturday at 8pm, in the Patricelli ’92 Theater, six sophomores (Matt Carney, Kate Finley, Lindsay Kosasa, Kelsey Siegel, Elisa Waugh, and Emily Wolcott) will premiere the first choreographic works that they have made as dance majors. Their pieces are the result of semester-long choreographic processes, which have occurred in conjunction with the Dance Composition course taught by Katja Kolcio. I happen to be one of the two stage managers for this performance, and throughout the week, I’ve been confronted with memories of myself presenting the first piece I made as a dance major in the 2009 Spring Dance Concert. Although each choreographer’s experience in the course and throughout the creative process is different, I thought that reflecting upon my own experience might provide some insight into the investigative journey that sophomore dance majors embark upon as they prepare for the Spring Dance Concert, which, this year, is entitled “Future Reflections.”
Perhaps, the most exciting thing, for me, about choreographing for this concert was that it was the first time in which I had to come in confrontation with myself as an artist and consciously think about why I chose dance as my artistic medium; what most interested me about movement; what I was striving to work on; and what I might consider to be my artistic strengths and weaknesses. In class, Katja helped us address these questions by encouraging us to ask ourselves, “Where do I believe dance originates from?” To my mind, this prompting really allowed me to begin using movement in a way that felt not only important, but necessary. I began learning that the maintenance of a strong commitment to one’s central artistic aim was that which would allow the dance to emerge.
In class, we also developed skills that helped us assume leadership roles in our rehearsals as we brought our dancers through the choreographic process. I feel that this aspect of the class was absolutely essential to my piece because it allowed my dancers to trust me, thereby, allowing them to trust in what they were doing on stage. Katja additionally taught us a number of compositional activities to generate movement. I think my favorite class activity was that which called upon us to take turns acting as the choreographer and making a short dance for the other students in just ten minutes. Based upon my experience, this exercise resulted in a wonderful sense of creativity induced by adrenaline and the need to work quickly. When acting as the choreographer, the delightful surprise of the creation illuminated the human capacity to make artistic decisions and execute them well, even when under constraint.
All of these elements were fundamental to the work that I premiered in the Spring Dance Concert and they undoubtedly formed the foundation of my artistic practice today. As I have helped this year’s sophomore choreographers complete their artistic visions with the added components of staging and lighting (beautifully designed by Ross Firestone ‘12), I feel that they all have created great stepping-stones from which to jump off into their next choreographic endeavors. Thus, I sincerely hope that you come to the performance this Friday or Saturday and take part in the commencement of what are sure to be six wonderful artistic journeys.
Spring Dance Concert: “Future Reflections”
Friday, April 29 & Saturday, April 30, 8pm
Patricelli ’92 Theater
$4 Wesleyan students, $5 all others