kaleidoscope preview

Have you ever peered into a kaleidoscope and felt like you had a glimpse of a different universe? Audiences will have the chance to experience that inspiring world of constant motion and rotation this weekend in the dance show “Kaleidoscope.” Held in the Borden Gym, the show features members of Andover Dance Group, Hypnotiq, Blue Strut and SLAM performing a series of dances in different parts of the gym. Led by Blue Key Heads, the audience rotates around the building, from the squash courts to the staircase, to see each dance. The Inspiration for Kaleidoscope Judith Wombwell, Instructor in Theater and Dance, has long visualized rotating the audience in order to break down the boundaries between the audience and performers. “Rotation is a major theme for dance,” she said, explaining how this show is a new way to “make the audience feel like an active participant instead of a passive observer.” Members of Andover Dance Group submitted possible show titles and eventually voted on “Kaleidoscope.” Wombwell said, “Kaleidoscope is really taking something familiar and shifting it around so you see it in a different way. There’s also the idea that you rotate a kaleidoscope to make it change, so we are rotating our audience.” The show will be held in the gym because Wombwell hopes that dance can be more frequently associated with other athletics. The dancers’ costumes will be a combination of dancewear and Andover athletic apparel to further emphasize the connection. Sayer Mansfield ’10, Captain of Andover Dance Group and co-president of Blue Strut, said, “Once you get over the strangeness of dancing in such an unconventional performance space, the choreography and ideas presented are extraordinary to watch. Ms. Wombwell, along with [Erin Strong, Instructor in Theatre and Dance,] is the driving force behind this production.” Wombwell’s favorite part about the “Kaleidoscope” has been “trying something in a contained space. That’s been so fun for me.” The Opening Act The show begins with all the dancers together in a large pieces, choreographed to music by the band Arcade Fire. According to Wombwell, the opening piece portrays “youthful exuberance.” Sayer Mansfield ’10, Captain of Andover Dance Group, begins doing exercise-like moves to the song “No Cars Go.” The dance develops into a flurry of varied, energetic motion as other dancers enter. Whether Andover Dance Group moves in straight lines, pinwheels, or concentric circles, the formations are usually symmetrical, like a kaleidoscopic image. Hypnotiq and SLAM then enter, adding their own styles to the piece, while Andover Dance Group continues dancing around them. The second half of the song is a duet set to “My Heart is Apple” that features Georgia Pelletier ’11 and Duncan Crystal ’10 for one show and Sumi Matsumoto ’11 and Hector Kilgoe ’11 for the two others. Their movements are elastic, as if they are stretched on strings, giving the piece a sustained feeling. Wombwell said, “Inside this dance, the dancers themselves become a structure that separates these two people, as many times, we as human beings are separated… This becomes a symbol for [real-life relationships].” At the end of the piece, the two lovers are able to break the barriers separating them and come together. Dancing on a Staircase Following the opening group piece, Blue Key Heads will escort the audience to different parts of the gym to view a number of diverse dances. For example, one piece takes place on the hidden stairs between the Fitness Center and the Ballet Studio. The audience stands at the top landing and looks down on the two sets of stairs where the dancers are performing. At one point, Georgia Pelletier ’11 performs a split with one leg on each stair handrail. Instead of music, the dance is set to a recording of the dancers reading physics problems aloud. Their voices overlap and blur together before yielding to one voice, which describes a physics problem concerning a dancer doing a tour jeté jump. The piece ends with all three dancers performing a tour jeté and exiting the stairwell. Other Rotation Dances Another piece in the ballet studio, choreographed by Erin Strong, manipulates shimmering red fabric. Rochelle Wilbun ’13 said “The fabric is basically what determines our movement, because we have to go with what the fabric does.” In addition, there is a dance to operatic music set against the angular structure of the ramp outside the wrestling room. “Flight of the Bumblebee” symbolizes fast-paced life and takes place in the fitness center, using the exercise equipment. A sharp, emotional dance takes place in the squash courts. One dancer occupies each squash court, and the audience is free to wander around the observation hall, seeing parts of each solo. Blue Strut’s Dance After seeing the smaller dances, the audience will move into the modern studio to see Blue Strut perform a separate piece, which is structured like a dance audition. Sayer Mansfield ’10, co-head of Blue Strut, said, “The dance is set to three different pieces of music, one for each audition combination. The…dance [is] guided by the voice of the audition leader. It’s a very fun and upbeat dance put into a formula Blue Strut has never explored before.” The Grande Finale The show closes with another lively group piece set to “Stay Hungry” by Talking Heads. This piece is an upbeat fusion of country and disco, with the whole group dancing in jeans. Like the opening piece, the formation is symmetrical, bringing back the kaleidoscope theme. Wombwell said, “It’s almost like a normal [school] dance, but it’s structured.” You’ll have to attend the show this weekend to see how it ends!