Pause, Reflect and RESET

The Baker Theatre showcased a variety of exciting dance pieces by student-choreographers.

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Matthew McCray '24 performs in Living in Color: As Told By Us. // Photo courtesy of Marco Calderon

The lights dim, the show is about to begin. A reminder of no photography and videography, as well as an emphasis on audience members being masked echoes through the theatre. As the curtain lifts, the crowd begins to settle into their seats and witness a series of reflective, whimsical and meaningful performances. 

The RESET: New Dances performances took place the weekend of Nov. 18-20. The show consisted of eight performances, each with a unique story to tell. Each dance piece was choreographed by a talented student of the class of 2022. The RESET: New Dances performances served as a way for the student body to “pause, reflect, and create again,” as expressed in the program. The show began with a performance of “What’s on the Horizon,” choreographed by Emily Leandro ‘22. This piece was unmasked, as were most of the performances that followed. The dance began with a solemn atmosphere, but as the performance progressed the dance shifted into an upbeat and lighthearted piece. The facial expressions served as a pivotal point in the dance, contributing to the emotions the choreography conveyed. As the performance came to an end, the captivated audience broke out in applause as the dancers took a very well-deserved bow. 

“Danica, our choreographer, made that music from our storytelling and like the way that I’m speaking… how my voice is going up and down and the range is getting louder…”

– Alyssa Miles ‘25

“I’ll Say It In Seven,” choreographed by Danica Schofer ‘22, followed the first performance, and was the only masked performance of the night. A beautiful piece that consisted of seven dancers, began with two and ended with two. The music was composed by Schofer in collaboration with the dancers. The third performance, the enthralling “Ladylike,” choreographed by Arianna Cacioppo ‘22, served as a mesmerizing number of six dancers. The performance began with no music, and just the sound of heavy breathing, presumably of the dancers, until music faded in as the performance went on. The earnest and entrancing performance incorporated changes in tempo and smeared lipstick, a performance the audience rewarded with a deserving series of applause and cheers. 

“There’s a piano and it’s only piano for the music score. Danica, our choreographer, made that music from our storytelling and like the way that I’m speaking… how my voice is going up and down and the range is getting louder… she plays notes that go with the range of my speaking voice and just kind of worked off of that to make music,” said Alyssa Miles ‘25.

The fourth performance, “Living Color: As Told By Us,” choreographed by Arianna Tilley ‘22, was an inspiring and aweing performance. The dance highlighted what it means to be a person of color in America, with spoken testimonies from each of the dancers. The testimonies of each dancer were played as its respective dancer was given the spotlight to perform their solos. The mesmerizing performance was awarded with loud cheers and applause, as well as many audience members delivering a standing ovation for the beautiful dance number. 

The fifth performance, “Untendered Touch,” choreographed by Danielle Barrett ‘22, consisting of only two dancers, was intimate and raw, one where the distressed facial expressions of the dancers was a vital part of the performance’s emotion and integrity. The beautiful number included spoken voice overs about finding comfort, peace and home in another person, serving as an essential role in the performance. 

“Rewiring in Process,” choreographed by Allison Goldman ‘22 followed, and expressed shifts in mood from serious to upbeat, to relaxed. As the performance progressed, the shifts were not only seen from the dances and heard in the music, but seen through the dancer’s facial expressions as well. The buoyant mood this performance put the audience in followed into the seventh performance. Choreographed by Sarah O’Sullivan ‘22, “Missed/Match” was a whimsical and comedic performance, at times evoking laughter from the audience. Then, the upbeat atmosphere changed as the last performance began. “Mapping Self (results may vary)” choreographed by Kate McCowan ‘22, was focused and stern, as well as inclusive of the audience members, as dancers asked audience members to pick a number three different times, and spoke the number into a microphone. 

“The community based foundation was so vital in the creation of our piece, and I’m forever grateful for that.”

– Matt McCray ’24

Dani Medvedovski ‘24, a dancer in the last performance, spoke about what the performance meant to her. Medvedovski discussed the rehearsal process, saying, “We were always kept on our toes. The challenge was definitely well worth it though as I could not have been happier with the end result.” She added, “Dancing with my cast made the experience really special for me. We bonded extremely well through all of our late night rehearsals and I’m very lucky that I’ve formed seven really special friendships as a result.” 

The dance show, which consisted of eight remarkable performances, concluded with cheers and loud applause. Audience member Juliana Sims ‘25 expressed her love for the show, stating, “I loved the performance. Each group had expressive messages, stunning costumes and unique choreography.”

“My experience in the show was truly memorable,” said performer Matt McCray.  “I came in thinking it would be one way, and left with a new sense of thinking, dreaming, believing, and conquering. The community based foundation was so vital in the creation of our piece, and I’m forever grateful for that.”

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