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ISSUE 121 VOL 10 PUBLISHED 12/7/2007

'Co-Motion' Preview

By Jennifer Berghs
Contributing Writer

Friday, December 7, 2007

With Christmas Fest done and over with, it is time to make way for another group of St. Olaf students who are ready to premier a concert of their own. The class of 2008 dance majors are ready to present the pieces they have been working on all semester in an evening length concert entitled "Co-Motion." The concert will take place in Kelsey Theatre Thursday, Dec. 6 at 7:30 p.m. and complete a three-night run ending Saturday, Dec. 8.

The show will open with a piece by Hannah Swanson called "Outside Villa No. 7767." Swanson drew inspiration from her four-month stay in Senegal. Through her dancers' movement, Swanson depicts the daily interactions of the people she encountered on the streets from her experience in western Africa.

Unlike Swanson, who had a set inspiration, Sarah Goldberg had a rough idea about the importance of listening that evolved into the importance of being present to those around you. The dancers in Goldberg's piece embody the idea that our actions have an impact on the people around us. Goldberg's piece will also be presented at the American College Dance Festival Association at an informal concert next March in Madison, Wis.

Similar to Goldberg, Sarah Steichen's original idea took a new shape as the choreographic development progressed throughout the semester. The original idea of her piece, "Inextricable," started with the idea of the struggle between the heart and mind when it comes to making decisions. Her finished piece still holds onto elements of this original idea, with the addition of how we as humans choose specific parts of ourselves to deny or embrace and how we cope with facing the past, present and reality.

Breaking from tradition of the past two years, the Senior Concert will include two soloist dancers. Steichen will perform a solo that was created specifically for her. Choreographed by Stephen Schroder, a professional dancer in Minneapolis, "Rounds" utilizes small, articulate movement in order to pose a challenge for Steichen who naturally moves in a more athletic, large manner.

Christine Coleman took a completely different path than Steichen and decided to explore international dance for her solo. Coleman will present a Javanese Peacock dance called "Merak" because she believes that it is important as a dancer to experience different cultures and styles of dance and has chosen this piece to expand her horizons.

Unlike Coleman's desire to analyze another culture's way of moving, Megan McDonald decided to explore her own movement style and base her piece off of how she moves. Unlike any other dancer here at St. Olaf, McDonald is limited by the titanium rods in her spine. The rods limit what McDonald can and cannot do, and it has taken years for McDonald to come to terms with being an outsider in the dance world due to such limitations. Her piece will embody the idea of being an outsider as well as constricting her dancers' movement in the same way the rods have restricted her movement throughout the years.

The portion of the senior concert that will take place in Kelsey Theatre will be "No Rest for the Wicked," a piece by Ariel Nereson. Nereson worked with the idea of joy and exuberance of dance while working closely with the dance department musicians to create an original jazz score. In her piece, Nereson weaves her eight dancers in and out of duets, trios and quartets in order to create a sense of community.

One of the two pieces that will appear in Studio 1 at Dittmann Center will be Katie Hagen's piece "Untrammeled." Over the summer, Hagen researched the pioneers of modern dance at the beginning of the 1900s and the historical context in which it was created. Hagen chose the title "Untrammeled" because it means free of limitations and restraints - the theme of her piece - as she explores conformity versus nonconformity. The modern dance movement emphasized the need to find one's own individual way of moving, and Hagen's dancers endeavor to find their own voices within a group setting.

The other piece that will appear in Dittmann will be Tim Rehborg's "And the open door cried wait.'" Rehborg and his dancers have been working with improvisation, which is dancing with no set choreography. His dancers have been working on finding meaningful, totally spontaneous movement with each other. His five dancers have also been working to find moments of partnering or moments when the dancers can connect with each other as they move through space.

With the conclusion of the concert this weekend, the seniors will essentially be done with their major and ready to release their choreographic genius to the real world.

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