TRIP SLAYMAKER ’18
Dance, like most things, improves with practice; hours and hours of practice in fact. Collectively, the dance groups and teams that performed in the Spring Dance Concert in Austin Arts Center last Friday and Saturday, Apr. 1 and 2 had spent huge amounts of time and energy perfecting and revising their performances.
The Department of Theater and Dance presents the Spring Dance concert annually, highlighting the work of a corps of student choreographers. These students were part of a specialized choreography workshop and had the opportunity to participate in pieces choreographed by guest artists Pamela Newell and Jonathan Gonzalez ‘13.
The Concert consisted of eight dances of different lengths and styles. Choreographer Gonzalez’s dance opened the show in a condensed version of a longer performance that was previously performed at Austen Arts in the fall. The dance juxtaposed mechanical movement in the dark with the flashy dancing style and clothing of the 1970’s in his “Postmortem Performance.”
Then came “Blacker the Berry,” directed by Glory Kim ’17, Javier Weddington ’17 and Hugh Nguyen ‘17. This piece was written to reflect gun violence in urban centers . It featured some impressive break-dancing and choreography and was performed by the three choreographers.
The following pieces were smaller in scale and fell more precisely into the category of dance laid out in competitions: a solo performance “The Surge” by Kristina Miele ’19, followed by “Alleviate” a piece with two dancers, Hunter Lindquist ’16 and Haley Michno ’18. Both of these performances were self-choreographed.
Next, Trinity’s Shondaa Steppers performed a dance entitled “Janitors Work It.” The dance, which made use of verbal lines and prewritten dialogue between characters, featured the six step dancers as a group of custodians, incorporating sound into their work.
Julissa Rodriguez’s “Seven” was interpretive and stark, using the rhythmic noise of physical objects like chairs and the floor to keep time. Once again the dance leaned toward drama, using lines, speech, and performance art to give the dance context.
Maggie Powderly’s Death Cab for Cutie scored piece “I Will Follow You Into the Dark” used physicality, mirroring techniques, and choreography to highlight the movement of the two dancers in the performance.
The final dance performance of the evening was the Pamela Newell choreographed “Say I Am You.” It falls near the top of the list of most successful performances. The dancers, garmented in flowing shirts amid a row of standing microphones, moved fluidly on the stage, weaving the poetry of Rumi into their highly conceptual movement in another speaking section. This final piece seemed to confirm the theatricality of the entire Dance Concert. From the Shondaa janitor performance to the flourishing Newell-choreographed finale, additional stories and verbal context were more present in this show than most others. The 2016 Spring Dance Concert marks the occasion of a success for the Department of Theater and Dance and has revealed the hard work and well-distributed talent that Trinity’s dancers have been willing to put into their craft. This showcase acts as a snapshot of every part of Trinity’s dance community, and the department has rarely looked more in balance.
TRIP SLAYMAKER ’18