Nine dancers dressed in pinstripe outfits debated the truth of various subjects, from the shape of the earth to the existence of AIDS, at a preview of the theater and dance department’s semi-annual Danceworks Concert Wednesday night.
The show will open to the public Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at the Dorothy Betts Theater, playing through Saturday.
Many of the performances have political messages, giving the show a dark and dramatic tone.
“Each concert has its own character,” said dance professor Maida Withers. “Tonight’s pieces explore somber and serious themes, reflecting the current time period.”
“Blue Planet Blues,” one of six student and faculty-choreographed pieces at the show, explores the effects of war through abstract movement and dance.
“The piece is about the reality of war and memory,” freshman Natalie Shriber said.
Withers said the concert is about two hours long, almost twice as long as the fall dance concert.
“This semester’s concert places demands on the audience,” Withers said.
Many of the pieces have dancers exploring other mediums of expression, including speech, song and photography. For example, “Snapshots: Life Within Studio Walls,” features five dancers performing in front of projected images of themselves.
“I really loved this performance,” sophmore Urmika Cattenjee said. “The show combined a lot of mediums of theater. It shows what dance is capable of.”
The concert also involves a large technical staff, consisting mainly of students.
“I had to go to a lot of rehearsals in order to become very familiar with the piece,” said assistant stage manager Shendrina Alexander, a junior.
Junior Elizabeth Groth, the costume designer, said she spent about $1,000 on fabric for the dancers’ costumes.
“There is a collaborative effort between choreographers and designers,” Groth said. “I find the concepts behind the dances and bring them to material.”
Auditions for the concert were held in January, attracting more than 50 students.
“Auditions were a very challenging process,” freshman Julia Nebrija said. “The choreographers judged dancers based on the way that they moved.”
Wednesday’s preview attracted more than 100 people including students, parents and faculty. Many said they were very impressed with the creativity of performance.
“I thought that they did a fabulous job,” said Anthony Gongora, staff choreographer of Blue Planet Blues. “I am totally thrilled.”
Many dancers also expressed satisfaction with the performance.
“Danceworks has provided me with a tremendous opportunity to explore my identity as a dancer and as a human being,” Shriber said.