Modern Dance classes of all levels showed off their avante-garde moves in the Dance Lab this Friday October 28.
This week, the Dance Lab featured five dances, some choreographed by Erin Strong, Instructor and Chair of the Dance and Theater Department, and some choreographed by students.
The evening began with a performance called “Caravan” performed by the Intermediate Modern Dance group. Choreographed by Strong and with music by the Kronos Quartet, “Caravan” featured many student dancers incorporating various types of modern dance.
In an email to The Phillipian, Strong said, “I had a very large group of people to work with and with varying levels and experience in modern dance, so I came up with two driving ideas: one being the idea of a large group of people having a shared experienced and then slowly drifting apart until there is just one lone person left. The other driving idea was to highlight various modern dance concepts they were all working on. So the dance served as a short creative expression as well as a study on modern dance concepts.”
Two students, Abriana Mayer ’14 and Emily Ewing ’14, choreographed the next dance to the song “Domino.”
The dance featured student dancers Emily Field ’13, Emmie Avvakumova ’14 and Sophie Landay ’14, as well as Mayer and Ewing, in an upbeat and fun performance that showed off each dancer’s skills and the duo’s original choreography.
“Our motivation for this piece was to try and make something that’s out of our comfort zone but also really enjoyable for both the audience and our dancers. We wanted to get everyone on their feet and wanting to dance with us because it’s just a feel-good kind of dance and song,” said Mayer in an email to The Phillipian.
The dance proved to be one of the biggest successes of the evening, and for first time choreographer Ewing, it was also a great experience. “I think it went awesome. We kicked butt and it was a lot of fun to perform,” Ewing said in an email to The Phillipian.
Next the Advanced Modern Class performed an intricate dance to Adele’s “Set Fire to the Rain,” choreographed by Strong.
Strong said, “ ‘Set Fire to the Rain’ is simply a combination that the dancers had been working on in class. We have been learning and studying turning, suspensions, extensions and complex movement phrases. I incorporated all these skills into one combination. The dancers enjoyed it so much they wanted to showcase their work at the Dance Lab. There is great satisfaction in dance when you perform your work in front of others. It is like getting a novel published. It is very rewarding to share the fruit of your labor, so to speak.”
The Dance as Sport beginner dancers then performed to the hit song “Pumped Up Kicks,” by Foster the People. Choreographed by Strong and the students, the Dance Labs marked the first time that many of the Dance as Sport students performed dance in front of an audience at Andover.
Strong said, “There were moments of Pumped up Kicks that they really enjoyed. […] The big contracting of the arms in and out and the full body shake were great moments that everyone enjoyed because those movements were not only very unique but they also touched on the audience’s kinesthetic sense, where viewers could feel what it would be like to do those movements.”
The final performance of the evening was “Success’s Expense,” an 18 minute dance choreographed by Strong that featured the more technically advanced dancers of Andover Dance Group II.
Although long, the piece held the audience’s attention the entire performance thanks to the combination of dynamic movements and its incorporation of modern dance and ballet.
Strong said, “I think the audience enjoyed the ADG II piece, ‘Success’s Expense.’ It was rather intense compared to the other dances. The audience also appreciated the great stamina and physical rigor required of the dancers to perform such a dance.”
The Dance Lab this past Friday night proved to be a popular event. “I am hopeful this is just the start of more great Dance Labs to come,” said Strong.
For student dancers and choreographers like Mayer and Ewing, the Dance Labs have become an important part of dancing at Andover.
Mayer commented, “Dance is one of my passions, so it’s always fun to let loose and just dance. Being able to be in a dance that Ms. Strong choreographed and a dance that Emily and I choreographed was just amazing, and I loved being able to show off everything I learned and something that I love to do.”