Arts and Entertainment

Dance dept. takes center stage

By Kaitlin McCabe '16

April 4, 2013

In a beautiful combination of music and movement, the Hamilton College Department of Dance and Movement Studies captivated audience members in its 2013 Spring Dance Concert on Friday, March 8 and Saturday March 9.  The performance showcased the talents of students in various styles of dance, including traditional ballet and experimental interpretive dance.

The concert began with Sandra Stanton-Cotter’s “Reverie,” a “tribute to our amazing ability to dream.”  The piece was set to Franz Schubert’s “An Die Music D. 547, op. 88, no. 4” and notably featured dancers Emily Rivera ’14 and Michael Reyes ’14.  Richard Lloyd, who performed the piano during this section, described the piece as having a “serious nature.”  Additionally, during this part of the concert, vocal performers Mackenzie Leavenworth ’15 and Gabe Mollica ’14 accompanied the dancers, a feature that added to the concept of a “waking dream.”

“Swallowtail Reel” was choreographed by Leslie Norton and restaged from its original version by Paris Wilcox.  The style of the music was far more cultural and fast-paced than the previous piece, adding variety to the concert.  This particular piece demonstrated the talents of dancers Emma Geduldig ’13, Megan Lander ’13, and Xenia Tiajoloff ’16.  Traditional costumes mimicking milkmaids, which were provided by MWPAI, also contributed to the unique elements of the performance.

Bruce Walczyk’s “A Quarter to Twelve” was unlike any other dance performance.  Though left mainly to the interpretation of the audience, this piece, according to Walczyk, was about scientists that “are out to capture and experiment on the elusive and legendary Big Ones.”  Specifically, students were stacked on top of each other to appear larger than a human.  Wearing long robes and wigs, these performers truly seemed otherworldly.  In addition to the obscure characters, the piece featured techno-like music and strobe lights.  Combined, the elements of this piece emphasized the wonder and uncertainty that comes with scientific experimentation.

Guest choreographer Mikhail Ilyin worked with soloists Geduldig and Tiajoloff and demi-soloists Hannah Cook ’16 and Erika Craven ’14 to create “Schumman Sonatas.”  This intriguing and stunning ballet fully showcased the abilities of the students in that it incorporated both basic and advanced dance techniques.

The concert concluded with Elaine Heekin’s “Soundground,” a one-of-a-kind combination of vocals and movement.  Richard Lloyd commented upon the humorous contrasts between his first appearance as a piano player and this particular showcase as a rambling speaker: “In the first piece, ‘Reverie,’ I played a dignified musician, dressed in a black tuxedo with a white shirt, performing on a grand piano, and for the most part separated from the dancers…In the last piece, ‘Soundround,’ my costume was coincidentally also black pants and white shirt, almost as if I decided simply to take off my tux and jump on stage barefoot.  My character was a musician as well, but my instrument was the voice. The sounds I made had no meaning and in fact could simply be thought of as rhythmic patterns to which the dancers moved.  You might say I was the opposite of a ‘dignified musician,’ as my part was intended to be on the wild side.”

Alongside Lloyd, the piece featured steppers Reyes and Rico Welch ’14 and dancers Andraya Cole ’14, Kendra O’Connor ’15, and Axi Walker ’13.  Sharon McGuire also accompanied on drums.

The Spring Dance Recital was a breathtaking and profound experience for all who attended. The Department of Dance and Movement Studies has once again proven that Hamilton College is fortunate to have such talented students.

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