Spring Dance Concert Review

JESSICA COWLE & FALON KIRBY

On April 6, 7, and 8, 2017 in The Little Theatre of Brownson, the annual Spring Dance Concert was held for friends, family, and fans to come and enjoy an evening of fantastic performance. The Spring Dance Concert was directed by Shawn Bible, associate professor of dance at Manhattanville College. The performance was approximately one hour and fifteen minutes long, keeping the attention of audience members throughout its entirety.

The Spring Dance Concert featured professional choreographers, dancers, and dance companies from New York City as well as the talented students from Manhattanville’s dance and theatre (DTH) department. The Concert also featured retiring faculty member, Ara Fitzgerald, in her last solo at Manhattanville College.

Alumni, Yoshito Sakuraba, was a guest choreographer for the Spring Dance Concert and his contemporary dance company, Abarukas, performed a mesmerizing trio that left the audience in awe. The performance also featured a student Dance On Camera Film and live
DJ technology operated by students.

“This concert was an excellent display of our talented students dancing alongside professional companies, helping bridge the gap between student and professional,” said Shawn Bible. “Our students began auditioning and rehearsing on the first day of the Spring semester and continued weekly rehearsals until it’s show time.”

The Spring Dance Concert 2017 included many inspiring pieces which were incorporated into the recital. A specific piece that had acting and different expressions was the agonizing “Terror of Everyday Life,” by Larry Goldhuber. Half of the dancers began running on while the other group was spinning. This may have been perceived as being a representation of waking up in the morning—some were energized and others were sluggish and out of control. The facial expressions that the dancers had were frazzled, their eyes wide open like they were beginning the day.

The next portion of the dance incorporated the performers running in straight lines, making sharp motions with their hands in sync. This may be perceived as being a representation of a desk job, where each person was stuck at in cubicle and forced to do the same monotonous work repeatedly. The dancers put their hands in front of them in a zombie-like motion, as if the work has caused them to be a robotic. Then, they put their hands over their head touching their hair, which could represent them pulling their hair out from the stress. Each dancer used those specific motions to portray the strain that they all face. The dancers then began removing each other’s hoop skirts which portrayed the stress being removed from the end of the day. The acting they used portrayed their facial expressions as being relieved and glad that they removed the “stress” from their shoulders. The portrayals were shown through the specific actions and were brought to life by the music that was playing. During the final scene, the dancers huddled into a circle and then one by one they dropped to the floor; some of them then got up, but others remained down. This was a representation of ending the work day. The dancers calmly fell to the floor, almost relieved of leaving the work place and going home. The relief of coming home from the work place is something that both the dancers and the audience were able to relate to. When some of the dancers got up, it meant that some of them went to work, while some chose to stay home, which is represented by them staying on the ground.

In conclusion, the “terrors of everyday life” are represented through the dancers’ choices and actions during the scenes. Each movement was carefully thought out by the director and it was successful in portraying those feelings.

“Manhattanville Dance and Theatre is dedicated to presenting a diverse and dynamic dance performance, and the Spring Dance Concert 2017 is no exception,” said Shawn Bible, “We focused on presenting professional and alumni choreographers and performers including: Yoshito Sakuraba, Larry Goldhuber, and Heather Cornell.”

While highlighting the incredible talent of the Dance & Theatre students, the Spring Dance Concert also featured faculty choreography as well as performance. New York City choreographers Larry Goldhuber (formerly of the Bill T. Jones Dance Company) and Heather Cornell (Tap dance master) have choreographed stunning dances on our DTH students. The lighting design was by renowned Technical Director, Gregory Bain and costumes by the esteemed Liz Prince.