11 fresh dances presented in MIDDLEGROUND

November 18 2019

By Brooke Elizabeth Wertwijn 

The School of Dance students present a wide range of styles, voices, and stories in MIDDLEGROUND. Within the broad spectrum of eclectic works, eleven choreographers have put together a cohesive show with something for everyone. While some students have had experience choreographing before, for many, this is their first time presenting their work on the stage. As these young artists move from the role of dancer to choreographer, their choreographic voices offer insights into the subject matters that inspire them to speak through dance. 

Juliana Godlewski, a senior in the ballet program, found inspiration for her piece, entitled “Pointe ‘n Boogie,”in classic disco movies and footage of disco competitions she found online. Godlewski describes her movement vocabulary as having “a contemporary ballet base with a variety of disco funk influences.” Set to music by Donna Summers, the Bee Gees, and Hot Chocolate, the dancers seem to have stepped right out of Saturday Night Fever. She continues, "I wanted to channel a night out at the disco...sequins, sweat, killer dance moves, glitter, vogueing, mascara streaming down your cheeks at 2 am, the Bee Gees... this is Pointe ‘n Boogie." Godlewksi’s choreography will make you want to jump out of your seat and start grooving with the dancers. 

Many choreographers investigate their own curiosities about life through their choreographic process. Sydney May’s new work, “The Matter of Time,” is a deep, personal study on our relationship to time. She describes the central idea of her piece as an exploration of the “paralytic polarization of the past and future that results in the suppressed progression as a part of the human condition.” This complex idea is artfully embodied in May’s choreography by her three dancers. Each dancer’s individually distinct movement vocabulary push and pull on one another creating a sense of tension between our past and future selves. Her work invites the audience to consider their own relationship with the passing of time and reminds us to appreciate the present. 

Geneviève Basu researches the frustrations that come with not feeling safe “to use our own voice to stand up for ourselves out of fear.” Basu’s raw and rhythmic choreography displays the juxtaposition between group pressures and individual conflicts when you keep quiet despite how you feel. This piece conveys an intensity of emotions that will resonate with the audience. 

Alexa Knutzen’s work, “A Mere Distraction,” touches on the struggles humans face to be authentic and real. Knutzen explores how “we tend to fill our lives with distractions to delude our emotions” through intricate choreography set to the haunting song “Send in the Clowns.” This is her second time choreographing at the School of Dance. She says she has not only experienced tremendous growth in her choreography, but also is grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with a group of talented dancers and choreographers to put on this performance. 

These four choreographers are just a sliver of the immense talent included in the School of Dance’s MIDDLEGROUND. This performance will be an opportunity to witness and experience the dynamic variety of voices from young artists within Salt Lake City’s community.

Join us for MIDDLEGROUND, November 21 at 5:30pm, November 22 at 7:30pm, and November 23 at 2 and 7:30pm.
This show is free and open to the public. 

Author Brooke Wertwijn is a Ballet major in her junior year.