Mesmerizing and Strong: A Look Inside the Winter Dance Concert
Mesmerizing, beautiful and powerful. These are the words that describe the Skidmore Dance Department’s Winter Concert. Featuring choreography from professors in the department, along with adaptations from Paquita and Paul Taylor’s Runes, the annual show will not be easily forgotten.
The dancers were incredible in their movement and their connection with the audience, creating a feeling and space where time seemed to stand still. Their emotions were easily accessible, layered with incredible movement, lights and music. Honestly, it was a shame the concert had to come to an end.
Paquita, choreographed by Eric Otto after Natalia Makarova, was a ballet dance with Latin influences that was slow and dainty, but also fast and intense. The leads were Elodie Linck ’21 as Paquita and Will Christmann ‘21 as Lucien.
The leads were supported by soloists and a corps de ballet that wove together incredible athleticism with gracefulness to create the story. Each part, whether they were performing solos, a pas de deux, or in the corps provided a display of the teamwork that is not always associated with dance, but is inherently important to creating a piece.
Another dance showing great partnership was Distant Shores, choreographed by Mary Harney. It was modern piece consisting of movement that was cyclic, just like waves. Each dancer complimented the others in the moves they performed, and the transitions between larger and smaller group parts was seamless. They leaned on each other and flowed like water in an ocean.
Take Hold, with choreography by Erika Pujič and music by Carl Landa, was similar to Distant Shores but the theme of partnership was not as obvious until the end. A modern piece, Take Hold meditated on the dichotomy of a few against many, with a recurring movement of outstretched arms.
The costumes were uniform and in certain parts all of the dancers faced the same direction, which illustrated a longing to belong — something that is felt by so many. Having a dance that explored the complicated ins and outs of society was both comforting and supportive while revealing, drawing attention to our shortcomings.
A dance with a similar theme of being alone, but performed in a completely different way, was Runes. The piece was choreographed by Paul Taylor, an incredibly influential modern dance choreographer. Runes continued the theme of separation, but also illustrated the importance of working together to accomplish a goal.
The piece was ritualistic and at some points had a certain insect and non-human quality. This semester, Taylor 2 (Paul Taylor’s traveling and educational company) was in residency at Skidmore for a number of weeks, and students were able to take classes and work directly with these incredible dancers. Their residency came at an emotional time just after Paul Taylor’s death, and the love, connection, and respect for modern dance shone through.
Chant, choreographed by Debra J. Fernandez, was a modern dance piece that seemed transcendent. Although it had a different non-human quality from Runes, Chant also was not completely mundane. The music featured a vocal choir singing, and the lighting was in a soft radial pattern. The dancers moved their bodies in arcs and circles through space while their arms were more angular; they seemed to attract and repel each other like magnets, controlled by a force that could not be seen. The combination of the elements created a mesmerizing piece that was perfect to end the show.
The Winter Dance Concert was an incredible showcase of the vast talent found at Skidmore College. Chant was enchanting because of the music and lights combined with the dance, but the most depressing piece was captivating in its repetitiveness that signified emotional frustration and anxiety. All of the pieces shone light on how we as individuals can do better and provide support to those that need it.
Witnessing all of the beauty, pain, and everything in between was almost overwhelming. These dances, along with others in the show, pushed the boundary to create something that is unique to these dancers and Skidmore.
All lighting was created or adapted by Lori Dawson.
Future dance department events for Fall semester:
Tuesday, December 11 at 8:00 p.m.
Choreography II Class Solo Showing
Thank you to the Skidmore Dance Department for putting on the show and allowing for pictures to be taken.