Seniors Take Center Stage in First DanceLabs of the Year

As the sound of electric guitars swelled, filling the Modern Dance Studio, Lizzie McGonagle ’16 dashed across the stage, her facial expressions and body movements conveying the feeling of longing. McGonagle was one of three dancers who performed solos at last Friday’s DanceLabs.

“I thought [the DanceLabs were] great because when someone says ‘dance,’ most people think of ballet, but this wasn’t ballet,” said audience member Suning Wang ’18. “It was more modern, contemporary, lyrical. I think it was great to see other styles of dance [besides] what everybody thinks dance is.”

DanceLabs are typically held once or twice each term to give students who are passionate about dance more regular opportunities to showcase choreography to the community. Last Friday’s DanceLabs included three modern dance solos, a format different from past DanceLabs,

Erica Nork ’16 performed a solo to the song “Concerning the UFO Sighting near Highland, Illinois” by Sufjan Stevens. Her piece included high leaps, several turns and sustained extensions. Nork began choreographing this piece last spring.

“I thought of the dance as [a sort of] religious experience… like a revelation. You see something and you don’t quite understand it but you’re reacting to it. I wanted to encapsulate some of that confusion,” said Nork. “[DanceLabs] was very intimate. It was like you could hear and sort of see the audience while you were dancing. It was nice to be in a small room. Then again, at some points it felt like you were entirely alone.”
In contrast to Nork’s slow dance, McGonagle ended the show with a more dynamic piece set to The Cure’s “Want” and choreographed by Judith Wombwell, Instructor in Theatre and Dance. McGonagle’s solo included fast runs across the stage and high, powerful jumps. This pace set her piece apart from the other solos.

“I think it was successful. The purpose was for us to film and get some stuff done for colleges. We figured we could open [DanceLabs] up and just sort of let people know this is some stuff that’s going on in the Dance Department. These are some things to look forward to and keep an eye out for and break out there for everyone to just know that DanceLabs are a thing that happens, so I think we did that,” said McGonagle.

Sara Luzuriaga ’16 also performed a slow, piano piece entitled “Fyrsta” by Ólafur Arnalds. Each of her movements flowed smoothly into the next, as she held poses and moves for several elongated moments.

“[All the dances were] great, and I really love how they all really reflect the people that danced. They were all very individual and based on the person,” said Sabrina Appleby ’17, an audience member.

Editor’s Note: Sara Luzuriaga ’16 is the Editor-in-Chief of The Phillipian, vol. CXXXVIII.