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December Dance Workshop: Student works take the stage

This year the December Dance Workshop was once again very well done and incorporated fourteen pieces ranging from two five minutes. Throughout the semester student dancers met to rehearse with the piece’s choreographer who were also students. There were pieces that displayed love, hate and materialism. Ultimately, the best pieces displayed here would continue to be incorporated into the Chelonia dance show early next semester.

The opening piece Suzy’s Morning choreographed by Gabrielle Garcia ‘19, was a conceptual number based around the 1990 Suzanne Vega hit “Tom’s Diner.” It featured students portraying the inhabitants of the titular diner Vega describes in the song. The piece opened and closed with an excerpt from an interview with Vega about the composition of the song, and how it eventually found its way to the top of the charts. This technique was effective in putting the audience in the mind of Vega as she wrote the song, and how she could have spun elaborate poetic observations out of the things she saw there. Garcia also added a roiling undercurrent of sexual tension and physical energy to the scene, to help turn what would have otherwise been a straight re-enactment of the song into an interpretation of it through dance. 

“Cope” by Adrian Tomby
Photography: Edward Otto

Cope choreographed by Adrian Tomby class of ‘20 in collaboration with dancers. This piece happened after intermission and helped to fill the room with nostalgia, and longing for childhood as the dancers Chelsea Coleman, Austin Steele Long, Marin Powers, and Nick Zhang. The focus of the piece was on Coleman who seemed to be in the middle of bullying and the hate within the piece, but was also able to find support from other dancers. Each dancer had blue cloth tied around their hands, they used it in a playful manner to pull each other close, but as the dance progressed they tried to escape the chains that kept them trapped  This piece was choreographed to the song Can’t let go Juno by Kishi Bashi and was beautifully put together.

Don’t Get Bitter Get Better choreographed by Joanie Wiley class of ‘19 to the song Cry by Drehz was a very moving dance. The piece stared Rita Chang, Paige Wolcik, and Josie Jiayi Zhang. The protagonist of the piece seemed to be fighting for her life with the help of one other dancer is the antagonist seemed to tear her down at every opportunity. The combination of love and hate made this a dance to remember

The final number 2,109.2 mi via 1-80 W was choreographed by Gabe Gonzalez, ’20. He chose three students of color, including himself, to wear clothes emblazoned with controversial and offensive images and slogans. Gonzalez, for example, wore a T-shirt with the white power logo on the front, and the confederate flag on the back. Over the course of the dance, which was choreographed to a song by the group Adult Jazz, the dancers seemed to writhe in agony and move with violent purpose across the stage. At the end, they rent their garments, and symbolically freed themselves of the hateful signifiers they represented.

Contributors: Miles Avery Irwin and Bobby Musker

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