This year’s Orchesis Dance Theatre theme was about connecting and streaming Orchesis’s performances, which has never been done before, due to COVID-19.
Orchesis Dance Theatre and Moving Company presented “Sojourners” as part of the first set of “Dancing in the Stream” performances, directed by professors Joseph Blake and Erik Stern, on Nov 21.
The “Sojourners” performance demonstrated connectivity and sustainability. Throughout the piece, the dancers were working with sculptures created by Jim Jacobs.
Courtney Conover, moving company dancer, has been dancing since she was three or four years old. She didn’t want the performing part of her life to end when she went to college, so she auditioned for Orchesis.
Conover described the rehearsals as very communal.
“You can feel everyone’s energy even though we aren’t touching, we’re all working toward the same goal,” Conover said. “It’s been fun to see everyone come together and quickly put this show together. We’ve become a community.”
However, keeping her motivation up has been a struggle this semester.
“The changes really throw us for a loop sometimes, so it can be hard to adjust,” Conover said. “I just remind myself that this is where I want to be and who I want to be with.”
Conover said she hopes the performance of “Sojourners” will have audience members stop and think about sustainability and how they can help make a difference.
Later in December, five performances created by student choreographers, and a piece choreographed by Blake, will be shown. The streamed performances will still be available to watch afterwards.
The six works were filmed during the weekend of Nov. 12.
Blake said the continual meetings to make a virtual Orchesis performance possible heightened the excitement for the choreographers and the dancers.
“I can’t speak for the students, but I know that they were stressed and worried,” Blake said. “We told them to continue as if they were on stage, as if there was an audience in front of them. We all got one take, and they all did as any professional would. I’m just so proud of them.”
Blake said these pieces will give the audience the opportunity to see the student dancers in a whole different light.
“You don’t leave your home to see what we’re doing in the studio,” Blake said. “Hopefully this will inspire them to see what else is going on in the arts, locally, nationally and internationally, because the arts is the foundation of so much in terms of learning, community and education.”
“Sojourners” is available to watch on Weber’s Performing Arts website at https://www.weber.edu/PerformingArts/Orchesis_2020_Dancing_in_the_Stream.html