Seniors Alexander Kalkines and Antonietta Vicario say they couldn’t see themselves doing anything but dancing.
At an early age, both discovered a love of the art that carried through their lives. Now they have spent years perfecting their craft and will bring their experiences to life in their senior dance theses this weekend.
Kalkines and Vicario, who both began dancing early in their lives, intend to explore several different themes that have impacted them in the show, which will feature their original choreography in modern dance. Kalkines says his first solo piece, Where I Fear to Tread, is a personal myth. In it Kalkines portrays a mythical being that has only known his upper body and rediscovers his legs, which have never been used.
It’s about teaching myself about half my body, he says. As he worked on his solo, Kalkines realized that being on stage alone terrified him. The fear led to a subject for his first piece.
It’s sort of an analogy of rediscovering myself as a dancer, like the upper half of my body exemplifies my mentality in dance, whereas I’m just discovering the lower part of my body, being my body as a performer, he says.
Vicario also explores modern dance in her thesis. To do this, she created a multi-visual piece using television monitors. Her inspiration came from a semester she spent studying abroad in urban Amsterdam, she says. The city influenced her to do a piece addressing technology as a force in art and society.
Dealing with urban settings and the dehumanization that goes on from day to day, you become part of a machine or conveyor belt, she says.
While abroad, Vicario says she felt in touch with who she really was.
I found a lot of times I was walking through life half asleep as opposed to being alert and conscious, she says.
Vicario uses the television monitors to show the mindlessness of television.
So much of the users get sucked in and drawn into this kind of technology, like advertising and the media completely dominate the images we see, she says.
A communications minor, she contrasts the television medium to art and dance.
What’s so beautiful about art and dance, she says, is that it’s open to interpretation, someone can see my dance and interpret it in their own way as opposed to being subconsciously forced to see things in certain ways.
Both students say they learned a lot from working on the project.
There’s such a sharing and engaged process that goes on, like sharing your mind and your body in a way through dance, Vicario says.
Kalkines says he learned a lot about himself through dance.
With each interaction, with each dancer, I just grow more and more every day, in all forms, in my body, in my mind, in how I view everyday life and how I view life in general.
Both students say they have some worries and fears as the day of the performance draws near. When her work comes out on Friday, Vicario says she feels like an open can of worms, because, not only is it her dancing on display, but her choreography and her ideology are being showcased as well.
It represents every aspect of who I am and the biggest obstacle I think – it’s just really a vulnerable feeling, she says.
Kalkines says he has a fear about everything. I have a fear I can screw up any little thing!
In the show, he does a number of lifts and he says he fears that he will drop someone or fall over himself. But he also says the vulnerability is helping him open up his mind and his body in front of a room full of people.
And that’s a lot of pressure, he adds.
Both say they found the benefits of fear.
All the fears run through my head, but that’s part of being a performer, Kalkines says. That’s half the reason you do it, to exorcise your demons, to really confront your fears.
Both students agree that that is where art comes from, because that’s where we live, between fear and safety, Kalkines says.
Although they both may harbor some anxiety, they have high hopes for their performances.
I think things are going to go really well, and I’m doing what I love to do, Vicario says.
Kalkines says he expects, it to be the pinnacle of my experience at GW. It’s what I’ve been striving for my whole time here, an opportunity to showcase my talent and the talent of the dancers in this department.
Most of all, he says he hopes that the people who come and see it will really, really love it.