Thank you for attending this evening's performance of the 2021 Fall Dance Concert: Moving Forces. This is the first time we are back on the Ohrstrom-Bryant Theatre stage, presenting live work to a live audience, and we are very excited to have you with us. As you may already know, COVID-19 took a toll on the performing arts industry, affecting both professional and pre-professional artists alike. We, as many other dance programs across the U.S., were not exempt from this challenge. However, we found new ways to create works within new mediums that would benefit our dancers beyond live performances, and to continue sharing works with audience members near and far. Last year, all choreographers created new dances specifically for film, including one by international guest artist, Sidra Bell, who set a new work, Inhabitants, and which premiered on Shenandoah Conservatory's CP4U streaming service.
This evening, we are incredibly excited to share with you four new and re-staged works for you, including one by faculty member Charlie Maybee. Maybee explores the aesthetic relationship between the genre of tap dance and Guy Debord's theoretical concept of the spectacle with the premiere of The Spectres of the Spectacle. Using a deconstructive approach to tap dance, this new work continues Maybee's ongoing research of combining tap dance and postmodern aesthetics. Erica Helm's English Suite (2000) is a celebration of both community and beauty, two "essentials" that have sustained us through the past 18 months. Embodied in our shared experience is a joyful acknowledgement that we meet our challenges more fully and successfully when we tackle them together. Finally, Maurice Fraga presents two older works, Rift (2001), explores the journey of a relationship, commenting on societal constructs put upon men and their roles within partnerships, and Without Provocation (2014), where we see ordinary people collide under a dystopian blanket, filled with mechanical and industrial communicative moments.
Dance is a universal form of expression that strives to communicate; be it to form community, to worship, to philosophize, to entertain, to share stories, to express emotions, or to give visualization to aspirations, struggles and triumphs. In all cases, there is a sharing of information that happens when the performing body moves and is viewed by others . . . and the identification of meaning is based on the many individual and unique factors that each viewer, (including you!), brings to the “performance experience.”
I hope you enjoy tonight's performance and I invite you to become a “Friend of Dance” to help support this, and future, dance initiatives that provide current and impactful experiences for our students.
Chair of Dance Division
Associate Professor of Dance