Dance Open 2009

An impressive combination of stomps, twirls and leaps greeted the audience at this year’s Dance Open. The show featured 17 pieces, ranging from a traditional Chinese dance to a futuristic take on oppression. While certain established dance groups like SLAM, Blue Strut, Andover Dance Group and Hypnotiq made up a big portion of the lineup, there were also several independent student choreographers. One of the choreographers, Georgia Pelletier ’11, chose to express her idea of social conformity through dance. Pelletier’s piece began with a bright light illuminating the silhouettes of students dressed in distressed garbage bags and silver spandex. The figures then began to move with stiff motions, up and down the stage. Midway through the piece the students began to move robotically in synchronization, symbolizing a lack of ability to think for themselves, according to Pelletier. The students then laid on the ground and began to twitch. These motions were Pelletier’s way of describing a resistance to the desire to conform. Creative lighting added another dimension to the futuristic—yet dark—aspect of the performance. Another creative use of light was in Stephanie Greene’s ’09 tap dance, called “Tokyo Drift,” performed by the newly formed “Footnotes” dance group. In this piece, the dancers entered the stage and then the house lights switched off, leaving only the dancers’ glow-in-the-dark tap shoes visible. Greene said, “One rehearsal, fall term I think, out of nowhere, Givens Parr [’11] says ‘let’s do a dance with glow in the dark shoes.’ So we spent basically the rest of that rehearsal hashing out how to make it work. Since we didn’t want to ruin a pair of shoes with paint, we decided to use glow in the dark tape.” This noticeable footwear, combined with a lot of rapid foot movements, created a spectacular and dizzying show. Greene said that she used the sounds and rhythms in the song to help her choreograph the piece. “There is this piece at the end where it sounds like they’re saying ‘tick, tick, tick’ and Melina Prentakis [’11] suggested we emulate a clock.” In the performance, the group moved their hands in a clockwise motion as though they were literally the “hands” of the clock. In “The Fire of the Rose,” a traditional Chinese dance choreographed by Jenny Zhou ’11 and performed by Zhou, Sumi Matsumoto ’11 and Sophie Gould ’11, the dancers’ teeth were as important as their hands. Zhou, Matsumoto and Gould balanced roses in their mouths while twirling and leaping to Zhou’s arrangement of Ke Lin’s choreography. Zhou said, “The music was definitely a huge component in the dance, as the music sped up and got more intense, the dance movements became more dramatic and more expressive…. at the climax of the music I feel like the audience was really involved to our every movement because [the music] was so intense.” Other choreographers, including Juli Brandano ’12, were also truly inspired by their music. In Brandano’s piece, “The City of Electric Light,” she “tried to incorporate music elements into the dance by choreographing to the lyrics themselves and telling the story. Also I had different people dancing to various parts of the music at one time,” said Brandano. Following the theme of the title of the song Brandano chose to utilize an electric blue light over silver spandex in order to create a unique atmosphere. Co-director of the Dance Open, Jessica Frey ’09 said, “I enjoyed watching all of the dances take shape over the months. As directors we go to rehearsals so to see the progress everyone made was absolutely amazing.”