Emerging from the shadow of the spotlight came the artists whose canvas is the most intimate of all. It is this kind of powerful and visceral experience that you feel watching this year’s Dance Emerge performance. Openly abstract and emotionally empathetic, the dance exhibition demonstrates the innovative abilities of our dancers and choreographers as they lead you through a number of stories told through movement.
Dance Emerge is an annual, student directed and performed dance concert for emerging choreographers to show off their visions through innovative dancing. This year’s showing had seven pieces each with a range of performers, motifs and expressions.
The show started off with “Certain Uncertainty” choreographed by Abigail Linnemeyer ‘20, an eerie piece with seven dancers who each expressed feelings of anxiety and a lack of control over their own bodies as they danced worriedly around the stage.
Next was “Diaphanous Luster” by Nate Rosario ‘19, a mesmerizing piece where each of the seven dancers were clad in their own color and expressed that color differently through the subtleties of their movements and their interactions with the other dancers as they let the light flow through them.
Then there was “How to be Without” choreographed by Heather Downey ‘20. A romantically charged piece between two couples telling the stories of their relationship through dance, one of which started off as a nicely mutual relationship while the other was a heart-wrenching battle with one sided desire.
“Isochronic” was choreographed by Nikki Gagliano ‘19— a transitive piece starting off with each of the five dancers demonstrating their own isolated personalities through repeating their own sets of movements, but eventually coming together as one ensemble dancing with each other while still retaining their sense of individuality.
The next piece was “Inadvertent Intimacy” by Heather Dutton ‘20— a sexually charged and affectionately abundant piece with three couples, one of which takes center stage as they have the most trouble staying together and ultimately have to be helped by the other two couples.
Then came “Undounbeb” by Matthew Guerrera ‘19, an energetic piece set to Big Band-style jazz music with the largest cast out of the other performances— at 10 dancers— that uplifted the audience with the epicness of its execution which was worthy of its reflected title Unbounded. The intentional misspelling of the title is a statement about dyslexia, which was the theme of the dance.
The final piece was “Kayamim” by Karlie Lynn Zabin ‘20, its title meaning “exist” in Hebrew. This intense piece represents the loneliness and fear of being Jewish. One dancer, played the role of Jew and the piece explores her interactions with the other four dancers, who portrayed non-Jews, as they exclude her from their daily activities.
The pieces in this performance extenuated the more meaningful aspects to dance as an art form that you don’t typically see in other aspects of dance.
When asked what dance could do, Sarah Krsnak ‘21, a dance minor and member of the MDA, said that “all dance is expressing something, but it can be anything from an idea, to an experience, to birds.” She continued on to say that “anything can be a dance if you have movement to express it, and you can curate movement to express dance.”
This freer form of open artistic, particularly modern, dance gives the perfect outlet for these artists to express anything that they find important or worth expressing. This could be anything from Downey’s tragic love story to Guerrera’s piece about dyslexia or Zablin’s representation of Jewish experiences in our society.
An important aspect of this particular performance is that all the choreography for the pieces were done in collaboration with the dancers themselves. As mentioned before, dance is the artistic expression of one’s thoughts through the canvas of a human body, which means that essentially a dance involves two artists expressing something through one canvas. No dancer is without their own experiences in life and their own way of expression, making their individual contribution to the overall movement of the piece extremely important.
The only way to have such powerful pieces as the ones in this show, where you can feel the pain, joy or fear in every move, is when the choreographer and dancers work together to make something that they both fully believe in and are able to represent just as much within themselves as they express outward.
Pulling from a range of experience in the field, Dance Emerge seeks to help plant the seeds of artistic movement and shows off the fruits of these artists’ labor. Combining the efforts of dancers and choreographers, true expressions, feelings and concepts can be transmitted from movements of the dancers to the audience watching them in hopes to strike a chord with them and inspire them in a similar way to how dancing has inspired the performers.
Dance Emerge happens each year around April and it is the perfect time to see the effort and dedication our dancers can put into an artistic piece that takes a team a semester long to paint.