The Oberlin Review
<< Front page Arts April 20, 2007

Spring Back Dances with Talent

If you wanted a sample of the dance pieces that occur on Oberlin’s campus, then you should have gone to the Spring Back Dance Concert last weekend. There was no common theme among the pieces except that they were all decidedly modern. The concert was well-attended and the program short, running a little under an hour.

The oddly named “Blue Sky” illustrated a desire for freedom. The spotlight accentuated the shadows in College senior Andrew Broaddus’s curled body as he waited for the music to begin. During the first section he illustrated his struggle to leave the bounds of the spotlight. When he did, his gestures became large and euphoric, jumping around the stage, flinging his limbs out as far as they would go. As he showed signs of fatigue, the spotlight confined him once more and he quoted his initial choreography until he escaped from the circle and stood, shocked at what he had done.

College senior Emily Palmer’s solo Emily’s 22 relied heavily on her facial expressions, her eyes shifting around the stage as she pressed her ear to the floor, listening as she hovered her body above her arms. Accompanied by a voicemail message wishing her a happy birthday and mixed with a song, she scooted cautiously around the stage. Her shifting eyes suggested conflicting emotions surrounding the message and the birthday, as did the tentative way that she lifted herself up and balanced periodically during the piece.

In Quartet, which featured a trio of dancers and cluster of television screens, College junior Lucy Segar strung together discrete movements, oscillating between cutesy line-dance-inspired movements and abstract ones. Her dance was driven by the contrast between keeping up appearances and forcibly showing exhaustion for some undefined reason.

The second section of the dance featured three television screens that showed the dancers’ faces staring blankly at the audience, in contrast with the live performers, full of emotion. Despite the complete lack of expression in the dancers’ faces as they performed, the music, two heart-wrenching love songs, gave the piece an emotional atmosphere. The piece seemed to be an exercise in contrasting timing of execution.

Caprice No. 5 was a very theatrical piece danced by College senior Rakia Seaborn. Wearing a tight dress that revealed her gold lam&eacute; bra and underwear whenever she jumped or twirled, she followed combinations that were drawn from ballet or burlesque with a goofy smile. The effect of these overdone expressions showed that she knew it was ridiculous to consider these movements “normal.” Seaborn danced over the entire stage and was very effective in using the space, moving through it without delineating any distinct paths of her movement.

The structure Associate Professor of Dance Elesa Rosasco developed for Seven Sides of a Crystal highlighted the distinction between dancers moving together and soloing. The piece began with the three dancers moving in close proximity to each other, with seemingly no connection to one another. As they branched out, they switched partners, deliberately forming a connection with one and isolating the other. The piece ended with the three dancing close together once more, attentive to what one another was doing. Because of the false cadence in the music to which the dancers responded, the end was abrupt. The piece took a very long time to develop, and for someone whose intent was not to better understand its structure, it may have been too long. The piece ended just before anybody began to wonder when it would end.

Spring Back combined a number of different styles and techniques, creating an innovative performance representative of Oberlin’s talents in dance.


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