An Evening of Dance Bare Bones Dance Concert Review

Bare Bones, a student-choreographed dance show is performed each year. | Photo by emily lukasewski ’16

Bare Bones, a student-choreographed dance show is performed each year. | Photo by Emily Lukasewski ’16

 

Marissa Hank ’20
Assistant Arts Editor

When the world is in a frenzy, dance provides a space for inner peace. Chaos might be occurring in the outside world, but in the studio, only emotion, creativity and choreography matter. From Dec. 1 to Dec. 2, the Smith College Department of Dance showcased the Bare Bones Dance Concert in Scott Theater. Students from the Dance Composition II course performed self-choreographed pieces they have been working on throughout the semester. Guests from the Five College Dance Department performed, as well. Six of the pieces that were solos, two pieces were duets and the final performance was a group piece. The performances ranged from profound, emotional choreography to pieces commenting on feminism.

“Out on a Limb,” performed by Kylie Woodward-Sollesnes, appeared as a personal piece that was being shared to an audience. Due to the intimacy portrayed in this piece, the audience was able to feel her passion and vulnerability. Breaking free from the mold, Woodward-Sollesnes chose to dance to silence rather than music. The silence of her piece allowed for greater focus on the message she was unraveling through her movement. The lack of music or sound added to the vulnerability of her piece as well. The stage was all her own to share her experience, raw and uninterrupted. In the choreographer description on the back of the program, her paragraph stated that she was “interested in making dance that explores and recognizes the diversity and vulnerability of the human experience.” This perfectly describes the emotion she was able to convey through her choreography. Woodward-Sollesnes’ piece moved the soul through a personal connection she built between herself and the audience.

“Intersections”, a more modern piece, used poetry rather than music as the sound. Choreographed and performed by Bri Barrett ’19, Barrett chose to incorporate “A Poem About my Rights” by June Jordan and “Ain’t I a Woman” by Sojourner Truth in the place of music. The simplicity of the moves allowed for the words of the poems to resonate with the audience to convey a clear message about feminism. The power and sass transferred from Barrett’s performance left the audience empowered. In light of recent political events, this piece gave hope that the fight for equality will never cease until inequality is destroyed.

One idea impressed upon the audience after Sofia Engelman’s ’19 piece “Things that Are”, is that dancers are creators. Before the piece began the stage was stagnant and open, but as the piece started and movement initiated, the dancer transformed the otherwise empty room into a canvas. Engelman used paper and charcoal as props in her piece. Towards the ending, she used these props to trace out certain parts of her body. As she was drawing, she conveyed the image of a dancer as having a paintbrush for hands and feet. However in Engelman’s piece, the idea of a dancer as an artist was brought to life through the incorporation of drawing. By outlining the shape of her body, she conveyed that comment that dancers are defined by their bodies]. Yet, as she smashed the traced paper over her head, she essentially broke this theory while arguing that dancers should be defined by their creativity instead. Her satirical execution of this piece allowed for a witty tone and the audience’s approval.

The wonderful evening of dance ended with everyone in the audience writing one hope on a sticky note and placing it on the mirror of the theater. Everyone then gathered in a huge circle for a group sing-a-long. In that moment the chaos of the world ceased for a brief moment and everything was serene. Even though it was a room of strangers, no one could resist smiling. That moment of bonding allowed everyone to leave the performance feeling empowered and truly happy. Dancing truly interconnects all aspects of crafting an experience that transcends from the dancer to the audience.

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