New grooves

By: Hailey Miller, Contributing Writer

Towson University’s Dance Department has continued to break the mold of what many usually expect from a dance performance. The dancers and choreographers have continued to shift their style and artistry to stay in touch with the ever-evolving art world.

Their spring performance, “Interludes,” debuted this past Friday, May 1, where not only is there a ballet repertory piece performed in tie dye, but there are also multiple comedic acts featuring a variety of props.

“This is my third semester with the company and there is always something new and exciting that is offered,” junior Aliyah Caldwell said. “It is never the same choreographers or style of dance offered.”

This semester, not only did the TU dance faculty choreograph the pieces, they also brought in the Rehearsal Assistant for the Ailey II Company in New York City, Alia Kache, to choreograph a piece called “South.” This piece dealt with her upbringing and how the women in her family shaped her into the woman that she is today. The audience members could see choreography with a lot of hip motions that gives off a groovy feeling that is “new” and “innovative,” Caldwell said.

“My favorite piece in the show is Alia Kache’s piece because the movement is very stylistic, so I enjoyed pushing myself to get the movement quality along with the technical elements of the choreography,” freshman Rachel Moore said.

TU dance faculty lecturer Nancy Wanich-Romita choreographed “Arrivals and Departures” that contained comedic acts and an integrated use of props like chairs and suitcases. The whole company is featured in this piece, and the dance is based off of different modes of transportation and dancer interaction.

“I liked Nancy’s piece because we were able to incorporate our own choreography into the piece,” Caldwell said. “She was creative with her own movement and she was also able to accept our own thoughts.”

Romita is used to having months to work on a piece and before it is ready to show, but this time she only had eight, two hours rehearsals to teach it to the dancers. This caused her and the other dancers to have to really pull from their inspiration in order to have the piece ready in time.

“The time challenge also created new ways to solve creative problems and actually became useful in the end,” Romita said.

Romita was not the only one who suffered from the challenge of time, associate professor Vincent Thomas also found this to be his biggest obstacle to overcome. Thomas choreographed both the Men’s Repertory piece “In Step” and the closing number for the company “Punchline.”

“In Step” focuses on staying peaceful throughout times of hardship, and carried a particular impact because of the recent events in Baltimore.

“In these times we are faced with conflict, issues of frustrations, anger, rage… we must [be] mindful to walk in peace,” Thomas said. “For me, the piece is a vivid reminder of the power of peaceful protest.”

His next piece “Punchline” carried comedic relief and the dancers utilized props such as microphones to represent stand-up comedians.

Lecturer Runqioa Du choreographed a ballet repertory piece with nontraditional elements. The choreography was traditional ballet with modern elements and the costumes gave the piece a different feel than a normal ballet.

“I love the costumes of the piece because they are tie-dyed which ultimately fits the structure of the piece,” Caldwell said.

“Interludes” will be performed for another weekend at Stephens Hall May 9 and 10, tickets are $10 for students and $20 for adults. Audience members will also be able to see a modern repertory piece choreographed by associate professor Trudy Cobb Dennard titled, “Chase My Blues Away.”

“Audiences will experience a spectrum of dance,” Thomas said. “They will smile, be touched, be propelled into thought, be curious and above all laugh.”

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