Arts & Culture / Dance / Mosaic / May 13, 2010

Terpsichore choreographers share their work

The Terpsichore spring concert will be opening this Friday at 7 p.m. in Harbach and feature the work of numerous student choreographers. Here, several of them discuss the work they have been doing and the process of choreographing a dance.

Erin McKinstry — sophomore

“I am choreographing a trio of women. The piece is loosely based on the relationships I have in my own life and it examines both the solitary and social aspects of a relationship. With this piece, I am trying to show both the introverted and the extroverted tendencies of humans and how they affect our relationships and interactions with others. I am using two different instrumental pieces by Andrew Bird and utilizing a modern-based movement vocabulary that was created with help from the dancers.”

Hayley Schueneman — sophomore

“My piece came to fruition around the theme of making difficult decisions. It is moody and brooding and has a lot of movement repetition. As a choreographer, I strive to create pieces that intertwine music and movement together as seamlessly as possible. Whenever I hear music, I see dance; I usually find a song first and then begin to choreograph to it. This is my second time choreographing for Terp and I really wanted to create a piece that the audience could fixate on and not realize that four minutes have passed. This term’s show is really strong and I’m looking forward to being part of such a great, creative group.”

Lauren Assaf — senior

“My piece was created in collaboration with the outside examiner for my Honors project on West Coast Swing (WCS) dancing. We chose and mixed songs that embodied the range of music WCS can be danced to — blues/acoustic and contemporary/pop. We then worked together to best correlate our movements with particular beats or lyrics in each song. Having researched and described the dance in words for the past year, I wanted to create a visual presentation to express what words cannot: the deeper feeling, creativity and energy this social dance embodies. This dance falls outside of the ballroom tradition but will hopefully resonate with the audience nonetheless!”

Cassidy Bires — senior

“I’m choreographing the senior dance this term. My cast consists of any senior who auditioned for this term’s concert and wanted to be part of this dance. It’s our ‘Terp’ way of saying goodbye. Creating the dance has been a collaborative process. Weekly, I’ve assigned individual dancers to choreograph an eight-count or two and it’s been my job to find a way to incorporate all their phrases into the dance as a whole. The dance is fun, quirky and may or may not have a special karaoke ending!”

Laura Mogilevsky — sophomore

“My piece is based off of a series of photographs by my sister called “The Hustle.” The pictures are of a flock of birds flying south. My dance has a lot of group work and a fair amount of unison to replicate the birds. The movement style is very modern-based with some lyrical movements. The process of creating this dance has been quite difficult for me.  I have only choreographed twice before (a structured improv piece for Terpsichore last year and my senior year of high school) so choreographing has been a relatively new experience for me, especially with nine dancers.  It can get overwhelming at times but has been a wonderful learning experience.”

Ashley Witzke — senior

“I have been working on a modern piece with eight dancers set to an instrumental track. We have spent the term investigating themes of betrayal and trust and some of the movement in the piece is inspired by the dancers. We started rehearsals collaboratively and when we had formed a movement vocabulary, I created choreography that reflected all of the dancers’ improvised movements.”

Joyce Omondi — senior

“When people think of African rhythms, they typically think of only one or two forms of dance. However, there are so many diverse elements to African dance, music and culture and that’s what this dance hopes to expose. I am choreographing a dance that brings together a few different genres. It uses African pop, hip-hop and traditional as well as contemporary Afro-fusion styles. Some of the dance movements are taken from various styles and cultures outside Africa, but all the music is by African artists as I really wanted to showcase the diversity of the Continent.

African dance is strong, fluid and very energetic. So, choreographing the dance has been challenging but fun. Most of my dancers have never really explored African dance and music for themselves, so this presented a wonderful opportunity to experience a unique dance form. I am particularly excited about this dance because it is very different from what is usually presented at Terp. We’ve worked hard so I trust that it will be a bold, new, entertaining and refreshing addition for the audience!”

TKS Staff

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