Inventive staging, locally composed music and original works by faculty and student choreographers await audiences who attend U.Va.’s Fall Experimental Dance Concert this weekend. The dance program of the University of Virginia’s Department of Drama will present performances at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday in the Culbreth Theatre.
The program will feature works by drama students and dance faculty, performed in collaboration with guest composers Matthew Burtner, associate professor in the McIntire Department of Music, and graduate music students Erik DeLuca and Kristina Warren.
The Fall Dance Concert emphasizes experimentation through the use of inventive staging, dance on film and projections. The various works created by faculty and student choreographers experiment with subjects as diverse as poetry, American Sign Language and movements created by famous choreographer and dancer Bob Fosse.
The faculty-designed pieces have unique scores created in collaboration with local musicians and music department composers.
For those who attended the music department’s “Technosonics XIV: Motion” – the two-day event in October that explored the intersection of music and motion – it is an opportunity to experience how a dance performance evolves over time and through different media.
Kim Brooks Mata, lecturer, head and artistic director of the U.Va. dance program, has taken her dance-for-camera work, “Liminal State (pt. 1),” and with musician Kristina Warren, expanded it into a two-part performance piece. Mata describes her piece as an exploration of how “notions of interpersonal relationships, exteriority vs. interiority, and foreground vs. background” can “shift and mutate as they are applied to the stage through live dance, projections and other stage elements.”
Adjunct faculty member Dinah Gray’s “Construct Your Story, Name Your Days” explores the relationship between music and dance through musical improvisation. Violinist Chloe Sackier will perform live and create music in response to the set choreography of the dancers on stage.
This year’s student-choreographed pieces draw on a wide range of topics. Erika Choe said she created her piece, “We, Rhythms in a Canvas,” with the intention of “tingling the audience’s perceptions of the syncopation literature makes when recited.”
Olivia Howard describes the evolution of her work, “The Centre Cannot Hold,” as “creating movement from American Sign Language which has morphed into an abstraction of the struggles in communication, both literally and emotionally, in daily life.”
Janelle S. Peifer deconstructs pure Fosse-inspired movement with “|un|bound,” stating that she wanted “to explore modern conceptualizations of femininity and sensuality in a fun and approachable way.”
Other student-created pieces look at issues pertaining especially to identity and the individual. Elena Dimitri describes her “Eloquence Unheard” as being “about having something to say, but not having the platform to express it.”
Tara Bonanno describes her “[re]turning to the potter's wheel,” as “a look at the process of identity formation.”
“Through movement exploration, the dance piece briefly touches upon the sedimentary layers and weathered seams within each individual that holds us all together,” she said.
Tickets are $10 ($5 for U.Va. students, children, faculty, staff and U.Va. Alumni Association members). Free parking on performance nights is available in the Culbreth Road Parking Garage, located next to the Drama Building.