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ISSUE 118 VOL 15 PUBLISHED 4/8/2005

Veselica dances across nations

By Eliza Larson
Contributing Writer

Friday, April 8, 2005

In a flurry of costumes and color, Veselica, the campus’ international dance ensemble, performed their annual spring concert in Dittmann Studio One April 1-3. The program immersed the audience in movement, music and costumes from around the world – with guest performances from Ballroom Performance Group, the Ben O’Laf CEILIDH Band and others.

This year’s concert featured more Western dances than in years past. "It's exciting to finally do a dance of my heritage," said Sheila Slowinski '05, who is of Norwegian and Polish descent.

The concert opened and closed with fast-paced, lighthearted “couple dances,” which contrasted several of the more subtle pieces such as the “Rum Wong” dance from Thailand, in which the female dancers walked in a circle doing various hand and arm gestures.

As always, the costumes were one of the concert’s unique attractions. Veselica remains true to its purpose of "Exposing the campus and community to varied world dance traditions performed in costume."

The addition of several live musical performances helped vary the pace of the concert. The Ben O'Laf CEILIDH Band performed traditional Irish music and Rebecca Loft '05 performed three traditional hardanger fiddle pieces while the dancers demonstrated a traditional Norwegian couple dance.

“Music of Indonesia,” a class offered during interim 2004, recorded the music for the Indonesian “saman” dance, or, “dance of a thousand hands.” Traditional Gamelan music combined with a modern drumset provided the colorful musical foundation for this playful, visually intricate piece.

Several Veselica dancers took time to learn traditional dances while abroad. Lily Moua ‘06 tried to learn a traditional dance in every country that she visited while on Term in Asia in fall 2003. This year, she demonstrated the Vietnamese hat dance, a charming, energetic piece that was first performed at the Veselica concert last spring.

Laura Conger ‘05 choreographed a Bulgarian wedding suite. It started with traditional Bulgarian songs sung by Conger herself. A men's dance was followed by a separate women’s dance and, after a brief enactment of a wedding, the men and women joined together for a celebratory circle dance.

The dancers’ quick footwork often became hypnotic. They showed great charisma on stage and performed with energy throughout the 90-minute performance.

Veselica practices twice a week for several hours and performs throughout the year.

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