Cast in a dim light and dressed in long, pastel, monotonic green and blue dresses, Somya Mohindra ’18, Florence Grenon ’19, Caroline Hall ’19, and Michelle Jeon ’19 froze, holding their arms out in front of them as if they were falling forward. As each resonating piano chord of Max Richter’s “When She Came Back” rose in pitch, the dancers were suddenly pushed forward as if by an invisible force and slowly fell back onto their feet as the chords slowly faded away, their light dresses swaying in the air. This performance was choreographed by Kendall Beeman, Teaching Fellow in History and Social Science, who brought improvisation to the creation process.
“I just put on the music and I say ‘dance,’ and I then get to see what looks best on certain dancers, because whenever people make up their own dance, it often looks better on them than something I can give them, because they are using their own bodies to make the shapes. So that’s how I could showcase [each dancer],” said Beeman.
Beeman’s dance number was one of the four pieces performed at the ANDance Show held in the Modern Dance Studio in Borden Gym last Friday afternoon.
The show opened with “Landslide,” choreographed by Judith Wombell, Chair of Theatre and Dance, to the remake version of “Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac. “Landslide” portrayed a sorrowful emotion through its slow rhythms and the complementing, fluid motions performed by the dancers in unison.
“[Landslide is] very melancholy, and I just love it. At the very beginning of the year, when many of these students were brand new and they had just auditioned and I didn’t know them very well, you don’t really know where to start, because you want to do something that’s great for them. So I had done this combination. I did it in the audition, and everybody looked so great doing it that I just built it off of that. I built it off a feeling of friendship,” said Wombell.
The show also included “Fever,” choreographed by Erin Strong, Instructor in Theatre and Dance, to Beyoncé’s cover of the classic jazz song “Fever.” The number featured Claudia Meng ’18, Isabella Berkeley ’19, Ella Wexler ’19, and Michelle Zhao ’19. The remake version of the original song offered an exciting mix of old school and modern. Dressed in blue and red neon tops under the beaming red lighting, the dancers began the number with tiny steps and synchronized hand gestures. As the piece continued, their strides gradually lengthened in unison.
“I went through our costume closet to see what we had. I knew I wanted color, and with jazz, there’s a little bit of an edge to it. So those costumes, I thought they provided that little bit of an edge, especially in contrast to the other contemporary dances, which are more subdued in color – either pastels, or grays and blacks. Jazz has a pop to it, so why not have a pop in the costume?” said Strong.
“Slow Me Down,” choreographed by Beeman to Emmy Rossum’s cover of “Slow Me Down,” closed the show. Contrasting to the start of the show, “Slow Me Down” explored a more tumultuous coordination amongst the dancers. This number featured exaggerated movements set to a quick tempo, creating an upbeat yet chaotic feel to the piece.
Maca Artunduaga ’18, an audience member, said, “My favorite piece was the last one, ‘Slow Me Down.’ I really liked the fluid and graceful movements that they used to make the motions, and I really liked the song that they chose to accompany it, because I thought it really went well with the piece that they were doing. It was beautifully choreographed.”