The Orchesis Dance Theatre of the Lindquist College of Art and Humanities Department of Performing Arts presented their concert “Inter Action” Nov. 14-16.
The concert featured modern contemporary, tap and dance theatre styles of dance, with hints of balletic technique, to present a few pieces choreographed by five students, the centerpiece performance, “Take Us As We Are,” and a collaborative piece between Dance and Music faculty Erik Stern and Daniel Jonas.
“Take Us As We Are” was the centerpiece of “Inter Action,” choreographed by the new Assistant Professor of Dance, Jo Blake, and performed by this year’s Moving Company. Moving Company is a year-long, community-engaged learning dance course that partnered with the WSU Women’s Center and Ogden’s YCC Family Crisis Center. They put together this first piece of the year, using popular music, classical music and excerpts of women empowerment speeches, to bring awareness to women’s suffrage.
“It’s exciting and humbling to get to partner with so many groups on- and off-campus,” Blake said.
Besides “Take Us As We Are,” Erik Stern, Professor of Dance, said that there was no specifically obvious theme to the other dances performed. He said that the exact messages of the thought-provoking performances would depend upon the viewer.
“In the physicality, you get the feeling of what people are experiencing,” Stern said.
In the collaborative piece between Stern and Daniel Jonas, Assistant Professor of Music, the two professors mix Jazz trumpet music with rhythm tap dance for a duet.
For both Blake and Stern, dance is everything. Blake described movement as a language that humans “innately understand.” He said that, whether it be in the car, in front of the mirror, on the stage, or simply by moving in a crowd, everyone dances.
Stern said that dance has the ability to change lives as it allows people to learn to experiment, take risks, explore, and challenge themselves.
“I think it should be something that people are allowed to experiment with and play with,” Stern said.
The movement of the human body is what creates art in this kind of performance. Props such as capes, metal bars, tables, and chairs were also occasionally used in “Inter Action” to add effect and a range of moods to the dances.
“Inter Action” was the debut performance for Blake as a new faculty member. Before coming to WSU, Blake performed and toured professionally with the world class Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company of Salt Lake City.
“He brings a wealth of experience, but also energy and ideas, and he’s connecting with a lot of groups,” said Stern. “We’re just thrilled to have him.”
Blake expressed appreciation for the people he has worked with so far and their support both on-campus and off.