"Starting from the Point Where It Stopped": The Modern Dance Senior Concert

March 27 2018

by  Rachel Luebbert.

“Starting from the Point Where It Stopped” is a show of celebration and risk. This diverse concert features the choreography and performance of the 2018 modern dance seniors. These 20 individuals have spent the last four years dancing and creating. This show will be a culmination of their individual and collective movement explorations that together celebrate their progressions and exciting creations.

The modern dance seniors received Fine Arts Fee Grant funding to commission Ihsan Rustem, the resident choreographer of Northwest Dance Project, to create an original dance work that will close each night of the show. This piece is a collection of solos, duets, and group sections that are woven together to feature the individual movement expressions of these dancers. This piece was born out of an intensive two-week rehearsal process. Rustem began by prompting movement exercises to generate a collective group aesthetic. He asked students to move separate body parts together while accentuating the movement between these spaces. Where is the body taken if the knee and shoulder are moved together? What if the elbow and heel meet? This detailed exploration was applied to both solos and duets to create enough material for an 80-minute work. Through insightful editing, Rustem layered different phrases within the structure of a three-part sound score. First, there is a calm, Zen melody, followed by a driving, pounding phrase, that ends with the eerie song “Until We Bleed” by Kleerup.

The two weekends present completely distinct shows, with each weekend showcasing the choreographic work of half of the seniors. Noriko Bell, Jilliam Shipman, and Leah Gultrand are just a few of the seniors whose work will be premiered during the first weekend. Bell’s “The Bonds Between” is born from the exploration of the physical residue of human relationships. In her creative process, Bell and 10 dancers created movement that physicalized the essence of different human connections in their lives. Bell explains, “This piece explores past, present, and future relationships that are formed throughout life and how these relationships create our journeys.” “The Bonds Between” creates an intricate web of conversations between dancers, movement, and different relationships that are so inherent to the human experience. 

Shipman has spent the past few months researching the connection of the body and the ground. Using floorwork as a stimulus, this piece considers the effect of an audience’s gaze on movement. Shipman has explored the dialectic of what is seen and unseen and how this influences the creation and performance of movement. The four dancers in this piece will be wearing black halter leotards and their limbs will be painted. This paint intends to draw the audience’s gaze to the arms and legs as they push in and out of the floor. This work presents an intriguing awareness to the presence of the audience and this relationship to the performed movement.

Gulstrand’s piece “Shine On” is a solo inspired by the early 1970s. Not only does this time period inform the musical score of this work, but Gulstrand also dives into the social and political issues of this time and their relationship to social movements today. There is an intriguing dialogue that transcends time and space to acknowledge the continual marginalization experienced in the U.S.. “Shine On” gives voice to the complex struggle of different identities for human rights. Through the creative process, Gulstrand acknowledged the experiences of African Americans, women, Native Americans, and immigrants in the 1970s and today.

Each senior has spent months developing ideas, pursuing creative research, and fine tuning their pieces. Together this show presents a collage of dance works that showcase athleticism, humor, narrative, and artistry. Come join us for a night of art and dance that celebrates risk and creation.

First Weekend - April 5 at 5:30PM, April 6 and 7 at 7:30PM
Second Weekend - April 12 at 5:30PM, April 13 and 14 at 7:30PM
Marriott Center for Dance, Hayes Christensen Theatre
*Free with U Artspass (Ucard) for U of U students
$12 Adults, $8 Other Students, Faculty, Seniors