Showcasing Student Choreography: ‘Bare Bones’ Preview

Photo by Emily Lukasewski '0GR | The pieces from “Bare Bones” represent the diversity in Smith’s dance department.

Photo by Emily Lukasewski ‘0GR | The pieces from “Bare Bones” represent the diversity in Smith’s dance department.


Gina Mantica ’16
Assistant Arts Editor

“Bare Bones” is an annual showcase of movement from undergraduate choreographers at Smith. This year, “Bare Bones” will be presented on Dec. 3 and 4 at 8 p.m. in Scott Studio. Works from the following students will be presented: Ella Ansell ’16, Julia Antinozzi ’18, Sophia Arnall ’17, Sofia Engelman ’19, Aubrey Johnson ’18, Maya LaLiberte ’18, Janis Luke ’17, Koko Tetsuka ‘17 and Molly Tupper ’16J.

“Bare Bones” promises to display diversity in dance. In a dance world that, superficially, seems homogenous due to popular television shows such as “So You Think You Can Dance,” styles of dance outside of the typical storytelling “contemporary” movement get lost. Ballet, jazz, modern and post modern movements inspired by something other than the desire to tell a very simple story to an audience are not often seen in the media, if at all. “Bare Bones” provides an outlet for student choreographers to explore these important areas of dance that are sometimes forgotten by popular media in a supportive and constructive setting.

Koko Tetsuka has created one of these diverse pieces. In addition to being a dancer, Tetsuka is a captain of the Smith College Crew Team. Crew played an integral part in her piece for “Bare Bones.” Tetsuka choreographed her piece with the sound of an indoor rowing machine called an erg in mind; the erg generates soothing echoes and changes in both volume and tone depending on the speed and pressure that a rower applies.

“I thought maybe that the sound [of an erg] could complement movement. Music and sound is important to me because I grew up playing piano and viola. I don’t think I would be a dancer if sound did not play a role,” she explained. “The movement for the dance follows the smooth nature of the erg and creates the unlikely pairing of art and athletics.”

Sofia Engelman’s piece also promises impeccable artistry and an illustration of the diverse styles in Smith’s dance department. Before she came to Smith, Engelman took a gap semester and created a 50-minute, one-woman movement show entitled “Brunch.” For Bare Bones, she is taking a five-minute excerpt from “Brunch” and developing it into a stand-alone dance.

This was certainly an exploration in the creative process Engelman said, “The process of editing and allowing myself to let go of larger themes that were essential to the 50-minute work have been the most significant, interesting and challenging parts of this process for me.” The piece will explore ideas of performativity, especially in regard to gender, as well as dance and the expectations that come along with its form.

While most pieces will be in the modern/contemporary dance realm, each piece intends to be brilliantly unique in the way that movement is created and conveyed to the audience. In reflecting on both the individual choreographic progression and the collective process of building the show for “Bare Bones,” choreographer Aubrey Johnson said, “All of us have been working really hard to push boundaries in a certain area that is important to each of us. This means that the show is varied in style and feel. There is a feeling of isolated intimacy that we have all felt is important to foster for our audience.”

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