“In Motion”

An evening of masterful and thought-provoking choreography

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Photo by Marco Calderon | The cast of R.A.I.N.B.O.W. posing for the camera

From Mar. 31 to Apr. 2, the Muhlenberg Department of Theatre & Dance presented “In Motion,” the spring semester’s dance showcase. Featuring the work of faculty and guest artists, as well as over seventy students, the choreography and presentation provided ethereal, powerful moments. A variety of different dance styles, including ballet, modern and tap were featured.

The project was led by co-artistic directors Heidi Cruz-Austin, visiting assistant professor of dance, and Karen Dearborn, professor of dance, and featured the work of costume designer Rebecca Lustig, assistant professor of costume design, lighting designer Leslie Lura-Smith and stage manager Josh Ackerman ‘22.

The faculty and guest artists featured in “In Motion” included Cruz-Austin, Dearborn, Assistant Professor of Dance Megan Flynn, Visiting Assistant Professor of Dance Natalie Gotter, Guest Artist Frederick Earl Mosley, Assistant Professor of Dance Randall Anthony Smith and Visiting Lecturer Robyn Watson.

“I was so happy to be back onstage. Being back in a solid rehearsal process also helped solidify and create so many new and existing friendships. It was really an amazing process.”

-Ethan Lynch ’22

Watson’s piece, titled “Moving Moods,” opened “In Motion,” and tackled issues of colonialism in the context of the evolution of tap over the past four hundred years, featuring twelve performers and “Search for the New Land” by Lee Morgan, “He Ran All the Way” by Bobby McFerrin and “B.B.B.B.” by Leon Parker.

Next was “Silhouettes of Solace,” which was choreographed by Flynn and featured dramaturgical work by Allison Mintz ‘23, in addition to the work of the company of performers on stage. The piece featured a navigation of relationships and personal narratives using “Memory of a Time” by Jane Antonia Cornish, “Reminiscence” By Justina Jaruševičiūtė and “Weight of a Nation” by Danny Mulhern as a musical foundation.

Cruz-Austin’s piece, “Magazine,” was unique because it featured the talents of musician Holly Roadfeldt, who underscored the piece with five movements of piano music from various collections by Frédéric Chopin. The second and fourth movements featured solos by Kayla Grammerstorf ‘23, Gracie Dal Bon ‘25 and the other three featured the full cast. 

Smith presented “R.A.I.N.B.O.W. (Remember All Individuals Need Blessings Over War),” which featured “In the Shadow of the Colossus” by Nobuo Uematsu, “Ruins” by Ryo Yamazaki, “Trajectory” by Yasunori Mitsuda and “Navigator’s Glory,” also by Uematsu.

“As a cast member of R.A.I.N.B.O.W., this process has been one filled with community, love and joy. Randall [Smith] fostered a rehearsal space that prioritized acceptance and encouragement; the outcome on the Empie stage was something magical and that the audience will not forget,” said Lily Knowles ‘23.

Following a brief intermission was Dearborn’s piece, choreographed in collaboration with the dancers, titled “Embers.” The musical foundation was “Lift – Part III,” by Paul Wiancko, performed by the Aizuri Quartet. The piece and its instrumentation focused on creating a soundscape, and this mesmerizing quality captivated the audience, and helped to progress the story of the piece.

“Keep Driving,” by Boy Harsher, “Not This Time,” by Andy Stott, and “Yü-gung (Fütter mein ego),” by Einstürzende Neubauten were used by choreographer Gotter, in collaboration with a smaller cast of dancers in the piece, to convey a story of choice in the context of turn-of-the-twentieth-century struggles with freedom of expression.

The performance finished with a “Running Spirits,” by Mosley, which included “Rain,” “A Day a Gorilla Gives a Banana,” and “1919,” by Ryuichi Sakamoto. The piece also featured the work of Dearborn, who acted as rehearsal director, and had a large cast, at twenty total dancers.

“As a cast member of R.A.I.N.B.O.W., this process has been one filled with community, love and joy.”

-Lily Knowles ’23

“‘In Motion’ was truly breathtaking to watch,” said Ozlyn Smith ‘22, who served as house manager of the production. “The pieces that dancers performed in were filled with passion and love which made it all the more powerful to watch.”

“Never underestimate the importance of live art,” explained Ethan Lynch ‘22, a performer. “I was so happy to be back onstage. Being back in a solid rehearsal process also helped solidify and create so many new and existing friendships. It was really an amazing process.”

Sarah Wedeking ‘24 shared, “It was a truly transcendent experience. It was my first time watching a dance show at ‘Berg, and the energy of the dances made me realize not only how talented our community is, but how beautiful and magical dance is.”

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