ADG Highlights Memory & Tragedy In “Kommos”

“Particles of Memories,” pictured above, was inspired by the English elective “Rememories: Trauma and Survival in Twentieth Century Literature,” a class taught by Kathryn McQuade, Instructor in English.

Cast in a dim light and wearing a black, lace unitard, Alexa Goulas ’18 rolled on her back, tumbling into Sabrina Appleby ’17, dressed in a silky, red leotard, who sat with open arms in the center of the stage. As Samuel Barber’s “Piano Concerto Op. 38” died down to a soft melody, the dancers tiptoed towards Goulas and gently moved their arms forward as if to mourn her death. Judith Wombwell, Chair and Instructor in Theatre and Dance, choreographed this dance, titled, “Kommos: a song of lamentation.”

“[A Kommos is] a wailing. It means to strike, a wailing from grief in Greek tragedy. It’s a moment where catharsis basically happens… I feel like there’s a lot of tension in the country, a lot of pain, a lot of conflict, so I felt like I wanted to do a piece to address that,” said Wombwell. “[For] the seriousness of the piece, I felt like we had the right crew of dancers to do it too. We had dancers that are strong enough to do something that big.”

This performance was one of four pieces in the “Kommos” Show, which featured Andover Dance Group (ADG) and AnDance in Steinbach Theatre last Friday and Saturday night. The show utilized a three-hundred sixty degrees stage design to immerse the audience in the vibrancy of the choreography.

“I picked this huge piece of music that’s thirty-five minutes and very dramatic, and Steinbach is so small, so if we had done it traditional with this very small stage, I just couldn’t see making it dramatic enough to fit the music, so that’s why I came up with [using a 360 degrees stage design]… I just knew that I wanted that,” said Wombwell.

The show opened with “Particles of Memories,” choreographed by Erin Strong, Instructor in Theatre and Dance.

Strong was inspired by the English elective “Rememories: Trauma and Survival in Twentieth Century Literature,” taught by Kathryn McQuade, Instructor in English. Dancing to Damien Jurado’s “Kola” and Antonio Vivaldi’s “Summer” recomposed by Max Richter, Kiki Kozol ’18, dressed in a long, pastel, multicolored dress, and the rest of the dancers incorporated swaying, suspensions and partner work.

“I feel as though one aspect of movement that we could explore was moving together, and that interaction in dance is so important, and I felt like it symbolized both the interaction of memories and the interaction of people with memories too because a lot of times, our memories aren’t actually individual experiences. It’s an interaction of individuals within the memory too,” said Blake Campbell ’18, a member of ADG.

Following “Particles of Memories,” Carra Wu ’17 and Romulus Sottile ’19 performed “My Tango,” a duo choreographed by Wombwell to “Concierto Para Bandoneon: Moderato” by Astor Piazzolla. The duo portrayed two lovers who will never see each other again, setting a solemn tone filled with heavy emotion. Under a warm, red light, the duo fluidly synchronized their steps and conveyed a slow, languid mood.

“I’ve never seen people our age perform a tango piece before, and the parts where Romulus picked up Carra and she was spinning around the room was amazing to see, and it requires so much collaboration between the two artists. I liked the range of dances that there were because there are so many different styles and flavors, so it was really fun to watch,” said Yuji Chan ’18, an audience member.

“Moby Dick,” by Led Zepplin, an energetic, rhythmic piece, was another highlight of the show. Choreographed by Wombwell, the rock music piece featured dancers in their choice of T-shirts and cargo pants, rapidly running across the stage and tap dancing.

“Honestly, I felt that it was just a badass piece, and it was very different than the ballet movements that we’re used to doing, even modern, so it’s… taking it to something more aggressive and something that you could really just go at,” said Amanda Li ’18, a member of ADG.