Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
On Saturday February 9 in Lang Performing Arts Center, the departments of Music and Dance staged the Faculty and Friends Dance Concert. The concert was an opportunity to see the work of students, professors and alums involved in dance and gave those in attendance a glimpse of the diverse projects of those associated with Swarthmore’s dance department.
The program opened eloquently with Pallabi Chakravorty’s “Chess Players,” using Ghazal music and dance to tell the story of a courtesan in “a time that is bygone,” and closed with alumnus C. Kemal Nance’s ’92 “When Trees Dance…” inspired by Swarthmore’s landscaping, beautifully likening the human form to trees.
Yoga, ballet, kathak, and improv were explored as well. Associate professor Sally Hess’ “easy” poses looked anything but, while a “Pas de Trois” from Swan Lake made for graceful flights of fancy. Cynthia Lee ’02 performed and choreographed “Ruddha (rude, huh?),” a piece that startled and delighted the audience through Lee’s abrupt transformations on and off the stage, challenging the audience to consider the negative spaces created when a person is performing.
While Lee’s piece created questions about how an audience member is a performer, Lisa Kraus’ “Interactive Random Access (1990/2008)” also explored audience involvement in a piece that likened the body’s muscle memory to the random access memory of a computer. Kraus established the space of a cube using a technique of the Trisha Brown company and invited the audience to treat her performance like an ipod, calling out the song, dance, and ‘quality’ desired for her to perform.
“love & fear” used dance to create a dreamscape. The dancers arranged themselves in various activities that seemed to reflect the visions and sensations of a dreamer, while different dreams were narrated. The piece reminded the audience of the universality and power of expressing one’s self through physical movement, and how movement creates an exterior freedom for exposing interior ideas.