Arts Blog: Dance showcase goes beyond movement
December 8, 2010 8:18 PM
Spanish bullfighters. Refugees on a deserted island. An adorably dressed couple on a living room couch. Zombies starting the apocalypse. These characters may sound like something out of your favorite films, television shows, or drama productions, but believe it or not, these characters were a few of the many portrayed in this year's New Moves Dance Showcase. This annual winter production is a giant collaborative effort, bringing performers, choreographers, costume designers, and lighting designers together to present distinctive dance numbers.
This year's show was the third I've been to and I'm impressed that over the course of those three shows, no two dances have been alike. However, all of the pieces presented this year felt more special than anything I saw out of the showcase in past years. The twelve dances presented in this year's showcase went beyond movement. The artists' interactions with each other, the costumes, the lighting, and the characters portrayed made each unique performance cinematic--visual stunners that could make the audience feel something. Although the stories behind some dances were easier to figure out than others, the ambiguity is yet another lovely thing about this type of art.
The Spanish bullfighter dance and the zombie apocalypse were two of the most out-there dances--flashy for all the right reasons. The bullfighter piece, titled "La Torrera" and choreographed by Lisa Veronica Osorio, allowed five females to portray the matador, a role typically reserved for males. By witnessing the ladies dancing in their jewel-toned full skirts and dress capes to energetic traditional Spanish music, the whole theater had suddenly transformed into a bullfighting ring. After intermission came the apocalypse, where two doctors wearing face masks conversed on stage before zombies in full-fledged makeup, blood and torn clothes crawled down the aisles of McKenna Theater and made their attack. The choreographer of the piece entitled "No Hope," Mu-Fan Chiang, also performed in the number, portraying a gunman on a mission to kill the zombies. It was a scene that appeared to mimic the likes of zombie-centric pop culture favorites like the movie 28 Days Later, but who knew it could make its way into a dance showcase? Chiang and the dancers made it work. Plus, it's hard not to be intrigued when you're sitting in the theater and look next to you to see a zombie right there.
However, not all art has to be flashy to make an impact. One standout piece for me (And a lot of others, judging by the applause at the end) was entitled "Barefoot and Vulnerable," choreographed by Joshua Ornelas. Yes, the dancers were barefoot, and yes, they were vulnerable, and one could tell through the way the performers supported each other in the choreography, their facial expressions, and the deeply moving piano music that they really were vulnerable. A pause came in between the music and only the sounds of breathing and rustling feet could be heard and in that moment, you could see and hear how dance in its simplest form could really make a mark on anyone who witnesses it.
I commend everyone who took part in this beautiful edition of the New Moves Dance Showcase, and I also extend my admiration and well-wishes to all the creative artists of SF State, as this marks my last blog for [X]Press this semester. I had a wonderful time immersing myself in all of the artistic offerings on this campus, as well as going behind-the-scenes in the process of productions and speaking to the people who make them happen. I hope the SF State community continues to embrace and support the students of music, dance, theater, film, broadcasting and visual and digital art for many, many years to come. And hey, who knows--the kid with a camcorder sitting next to you might win an Oscar someday.
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