DANCE/Hartwell showcases talent
Performance of students’ work presented seamlessly and professionaly
Published: Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, October 11, 2011 11:10
Hartwell Dance Theater was full of energy and creativity last weekend with the semesterly DANCE/Hartwell performance put on by students in the dance department at the College at Brockport. The show, which ran from Thursday, Oct. 6 through Saturday, Oct. 8, showcased eight undergraduate and graduate students' works.
Although the students only had a few weeks to learn and perfect the dances choreographed by their peers, DANCE/Hartwell was fantastic and looked like a professional dance company.
The night began with "Intercede," choreographed by Rebecca McArthur. The six dancers began by standing in a line in the center of the stage, pushing each other around lightly. Only about two dancers were moving while the rest stood still. During this, the dancers who were moving switched places in the line with other dancers.
This portion was all done at a high level, but the choreographer brought in low levels a few minutes later when the dancers deviated from the line. They still pushed and pulled at each other, but didn't keep any type of order like before.
The music changed with this shift in organization. The background music was soft and somber before, then turned to a static-sounding radio broadcast when the dancers were thrashing each other around the stage.The piece ended with the six dancers in a line, just like it began.
"I loved the first piece [in DANCE/Hartwell]," graduate student and dance major Chelsea Gavazzi said. "I could tell it was well-rehearsed and it really took a lot of time to learn each other's bodies to pull off some of the moves."
Another piece that seemed to get a lot of attention from students was the third piece, "Mission Statement."
Gavazzi said this piece was good because it's "more appreciating to people who don't dance."
"Mission Statement" was choreographed by Stephanie Jaworowski and was performed by four women and one male dancer.
It began with the five dancers, who were wearing black shorts and torn black shirts, doing quick and thrashing movements with their arms and shoulders. They moved one shoulder in a rough, jolting pattern almost like an exaggerated spasm.
The music mimicked this because it was rough with heavy drums and bass. It reminded me of music from Nine Inch Nails or another heavy techno-like band.
Suddenly, the dancers moved downstage and stared at the audience with skeptical facial expressions. After the audience was able to read the spot-on expressions of the dancers, the five of them moved back toward the center of the stage and ended the performance with large movements of kicks and punches, pushing the spatial boundaries around them.
"My favorite piece was the third one ("Mission Statement") because of the music and it really kept my attention," sophomore Kaitie Beaumont said. "Compared to last year's (DANCE/Hartwell), this one was better."
Something that may have topped it from last year's performance was the humor and entertainment in the fifth piece, "Se-elf or So-oul?"
As soon as the song "Dancing with Myself" bellowed from the speakers and dancers in brightly-colored clothes came out on stage, there was a different mood in the theater. The pieces before this one were more serious in mood so this was a large contrast to what the first half of DANCE/Hartwell was like.
There wasn't much organization to this dance either, but the seven dancers all donned their bright colors with huge grins on their faces while doing interesting and entertaining movements.
Two of the dancers continuously chest-bumped each other and another dancer was carried across the stage numerous times. Two other dancers played with each other's legs, twirling them around like a helicopter's rotors. At one point or another all the dancers pulled up their shirts to reveal their stomachs.
At first, the dance was humorous with seemingly no meaning behind it, only entertainment, but as it progressed, it was clearer that there was a message behind it. The dancers were almost acting like children in the ways they were interacting with themselves and each other. It was like they were children discovering the different ways their bodies can move.
"Se-elf or So-oul?" was one of the most enjoyable pieces of the night because of the light-hearted mood and wittiness.
"I loved the one where they wore the brightly-colored clothes ("Se-elf or So-oul?")," sophomore Sherri Bauman said. "It was so upbeat and it made me laugh."
All the dances in DANCE/Hartwell were unique and had their own styles. The piece "Peeled" wasn't like anything I've seen at a dance before.
Choreographer and dancer Matthew Frazier-Smith used his soothing voice as a tool for his dance. Instead of playing music that's pre-recorded, he sang the song himself while dancing. He also incorporated a story into his dance by using large movements across the stage and his song.
DANCE/Hartwell was a hit with the Brockport community and we're lucky to have such talented peers among us.