Semiannual Spectrum To 'Reach' For Dance Variety
Faculty members in the Sam Houston State University Department of Dance will “Reach” out to the Bearkat and Huntsville communities when they present their bi-annual Dance Spectrum Concert Thursday (Nov. 29) through Saturday (Dec. 1) in the James and Nancy Gaertner Performing Arts Center Dance Theatre.
Presentations will begin at 8 p.m. each day, with a 2 p.m. Saturday matinee and will also include the works of two guest artists, including international choreographer Khaleah London/LAYERS and Houston’s Spencer Gavin Hering and Andrea Dawn Shelley, from Infinite Moving Ever Evolving (iMEE).
The program will also feature new works by Jonathan Charles, Jennifer Pontius, Dana Nicolay, Andrew Noble, Dionne Sparkman Noble and Erin Reck.
London’s Afro-Caribbean and Senegalese influences are evident in her new work “The Ultimatum,” featuring a large cast that packs the stage with an unusually syncopated dance about coming together as a collective to make a difference by shedding societal burdens of complacency and stereotypes, Sparkman Noble said.
“All dancers sport navy blue blazers that adorn the movement in proper and improper ways, metaphorically representing the many worries of humanity,” she said.
Hering and Shelley will present “ogeretla,” which creates edgy, confrontational and circumstantial vignettes that reside within an interruptive musical score and a narrowly focused light design.
Three sonatas by Scarlatti accompany Charles’s new work “Those who speak softly will hear quiet echoes,” for which music professor Sergio Ruiz will plays live as a trio of dancers perform a flirtatious neo-classic work reminiscent of a 21st Century “Apollo.”
Pontius’s new ballet, “with measured step,” is inspired by the yearning phrases of Beethoven’s aptly dubbed “Pathetique” sonata.
In the first section, the seven dancers’ movements trail the music, punctuated with lingering pauses, as if they are listening for, and then responding to, a whispered message. The second section, faster and more joyous, retains echoes from the beginning, but has a sense of certainty, with the dancers seeming to create, rather than respond to, the music, according to Pontius.
“There is a poignancy, for me, in the formal structure inherent in both the music and the choreography that cradles the emotional content,” she said.
Nicolay’s “Social Fabric” cast investigates the ways in which our society is woven together to create a whole.
“Nicolay worked closely with his cast who shared personal stories in an effort to create a harmonious work danced to some of Led Zeppelin’s finest,” Sparkman Noble said. “The groovy, bouncy, easy flow choreography magnetically draws us to the community Nicolay created.”
Andy Noble and graduate student Laura Harrell investigate how many dancers you can fit on one stage in their “Tower,” a work utilizing 33 performers. “Tower” starts off small and builds in momentum and size till it’s literally whipping and pounding its way past the boundaries of the stage.
Sparkman Noble’s “A French Yodel for Penny” pairs an unconventional light design with unusual music selections, movement and costume changes to celebrate an eclectic tour of folk music from around the world.
“I didn’t set out to create this world but instead followed my instincts and before I knew it the dance had made itself,” she said. “The decisions regarding music, movement and costume don’t go together at first glance but by the end, feel somehow balanced.”
Finally, Reck questions the labels that people place on themselves and those around them in a new thought-provoking dance titled “Surface.”
Throughout the work, dancers give, receive, trade and dance with cardboard signs marked with various words as they try to wrap their heads around the way people treat and “label” those around them.
Tickets are $15 for general admission and $12 for students.
For ticket reservations, call the GPAC Box Office at 936.294.2339.
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