Review: 'Duets to Decahedrons' showcased bold and quirky modern choreography: The performance featured works of guest artist Sydney Skybetter and the College's Dance Faculty

Posted by Olivia Powers

Last Friday, Dec. 2 marked the opening night of the College's annual Winter Dance Concert, "Duets to Decahedrons," which features works choreographed by four dance faculty members and guest artist Sydney Skybetter.

The performance showcased the College's commitment to equipping its students with a comprehensive dance education. Ranging from bold and provocative to lovely and lyrical, the pieces alternately inhabited worlds of combat, love and metropolitan funk.

The show opened with Mary Harney's quirky contemporary piece, "Square One." In a light-hearted exploration of their surroundings, the dancers interacted with a large grey box. The piece utilized this prop to creatively illustrate clichéd phrases such as "back to square one."

"[Harney] had us watch a piece that had the box in it that she had created earlier," said Katie Wilson '13, a dancer featured in "Square One." "We worked with all of these different [dance] phrases, a lot of which we ended up scrapping. It was really interesting to see how the process came together."

The show continued with "Deux," two classical ballet duets choreographed by associate professor Denise Limoli. Accompanied by two live musicians, the pieces demonstrated threefold the simple harmony achieved by a pair of artists complementing one another.

The classical elegance of "Deux" was contrasted by Rubén Graciani's aggressive group piece, "Unknown Adversaries." The dancers, sporting utility suits, charged through the bold choreography.

Following a short intermission, the show resumed with Skybetter's more temperate contemporary piece, "Halcyon," and transitioned into Graciani's duet "Afloat Beneath the Surface." Performed by Emily Pacilio '12 and Graciani, this poignant duet displayed the subtle power of the dancers to lift an audience by the heartstrings. The audience let out a collective sigh at its conclusion before breaking into boisterous applause.

The program concluded with a bang. Debra Fernandez's spunky "Heartbreaker" set dancers against a vibrant film projection by John Danison, creating the illusion of watching a comic book come to life. This colorful piece drew on the youthfulness of the dancers, creating a fun-filled piece that captured the vibrant energy of a college campus.

Though the works presented were diverse, the range of dance classes offered at the College was surprisingly underrepresented. The College boasts a unique variety of dance classes, including classical Indian dance, jazz and tap. However, these disciplines were absent from the modern-heavy program, to the disappointment of some audience members.

"I always really enjoy seeing the dance concerts," Netta Bob '14 said. "But I wish that there was more variety in the types of dance performed."

Despite this, audience members and performers alike were grateful for the experience.

"I love seeing what everyone at Skidmore can do," Bob added. "I'm always so impressed by how talented our student body is."

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